NEW DELHI: A four-member committee appointed by the government to review the ‘Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India’ in November last year has called for greater transparency in TRP measurement and for strengthening the ratings system.
In its report submitted to Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday, the committee said the existing base of the TRP ratings system should be expanded considerably to prevent chances of manipulation.
At present, data from only 44,000 homes in India is extrapolated to determine TRP ratings for TV channels. This was also referred to as “flawed” by a parliamentary panel on October last year.
Sources said the committee, in its report, also laid emphasis on the need to look at technological solutions that universalise samples and capture the diversity and scale of TV viewing in India while taking into account ‘TV on mobile’, the new platform through which a large number of viewers are now accessing content.
Javadekar said the ministry will study the recommendations of the committee in detail and is likely to send some guidelines and directions to the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on the rating system.
The expert panel, led by Prasar Bharati chief executive Shashi Shekhar Vempati, was set up in the backdrop of the ‘TRP Scam’ unearthed by the Mumbai police in October last year, which pointed to “fraudulent” manipulation of TRPs by three channels — Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema.
While the TV rating agency, BARC, imposed a three-month pause on rating individual news channels and said it would utilise the time to augment current standards of measuring and reporting data, there were calls for a thorough analysis of the system.
In this context, the Vempati-led committee comprising Shalabh, professor of statistics at IIT Kanpur, Pulok Ghosh, who teaches decision sciences at the Centre for Public Policy, and Raj Kumar Upadhyay, executive director of Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), was mandated with studying past recommendations by various expert groups on TV rating systems in India and revisiting I&B ministry’s existing guidelines on the subject and to bring them up-to-speed with latest technologies, make the process more robust, credible and transparent.
Current guidelines on TV Rating Agencies in India were notified by the I&B ministry in 2014 following widespread deliberations but are considered obsolete in light of rapid technological advancements over the years.