BARC India clarifies on TRAI directive; in consultation with its stakeholders
Responding to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) directive to BARC India to publish TV ratings and viewership data on its website with immediate effect, the TV audience measurement body has set the record straight and said, “BARC India has not stopped publishing its viewership data. Every week, at 11 am sharp, all our subscribers have been getting all India weekly data without a hitch for the last 175 weeks, including the last 2 weeks that correspond to the new tariff order (NTO) transition.”
In a statement issued, BARC said, “However, we have published data of last 2 weeks with the caveat that there are changes taking place on ground due to NTO rollout, due to which viewership numbers will be volatile during the transition period. The India Society of Advertisers (ISA), too, has advised its members that our data should not be used for media planning and buying in the transition period.”
The industry body further said that it also publishes a limited amount of data on its website, intended only for larger benefit and information of trade and media. “We temporarily held back release of this select headline data on our website. We did this purely to avoid mis-representation of such data (Top 5 channels/ programmes, etc.) without looking at the larger context of NTO rollout and resulting volatility, which could be misleading, lead to confusion and be counter-productive,” BARC explained.
BARC India affirmed that its position is also aligned to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Guidelines, which clearly state that “…data generated by the rating agency be made available, on paid basis, to all interested stakeholders…”. And “Sharing of the data/ reports with a third party or in public domain be allowed subject to the fair usage policy of the rating agency. Such fair usage policy shall be provided on the website of the rating agency.”
“TRAI has advised us that we should also consider resuming the display of top channels and programmes data on our website. We are taking a considered view on that post consultation with our stakeholders.”