Is this coincidence or coercion? asks Barun Das reacting to NBA’s allegations
Following the various issues raised by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) against TV9 Bharatvarsh in its letters to BARC India, Barun Das, CEO, TV9 Network, has sought to clear the air regarding the various statements floating in the air and taking serious objection to the defamatory references to the organisation and its people.
In a release issued, Das noted that NBA has complained to BARC about the authenticity and veracity of their rating system.
Das also mentioned that TV9 Network is currently not a part NBA as it had decided not to renew its NBA membership on March 31, 2020. He added that till very recently, the NBA was relentlessly courting TV9 Network to retain its membership, but “on June 16, after due consideration, we politely refused. One month later, we are in the NBA’s bad books. Is this coincidence or coercion?” he wondered.
Calling BARC a professional body of which all broadcasters, including the complainant (NBA), are stakeholders, Das said, “We are sure BARC has very valid justifications for the way it works and would have responded to NBA suitably.”
Adding further, he said, “But since NBA’s letter also contains pernicious allegations about TV9 Network, its legacy and its people, we are constrained to point out that this defamatory act will be addressed in an appropriate manner very soon.”
He maintained that due to the pandemic, TV9 Network, home to four regional news channels apart from TV9 Bharatvarsh, was more concerned about the lives of journalists than ratings during the pandemic. “That is why on March 22, two days before the lockdown, we proposed to the NBA that the ratings regime should be suspended for a few weeks so that the industry did not compromise the lives of reporters and camerapersons in the quest for ratings,” Das said.
“The very next day, the NBA rejected the proposal. Now that TV9 Bharatvarsh has garnered the biggest share of the market during the pandemic, obviously the shoe is on the other foot,” he added.
Referring to the letter, where NBA had alleged that TV9 Bharatvarsh’s ratings were often misleading, Das reacted by saying that it “possibly reveals NBA’s lack of basic understanding of the television news business.” He stressed, “The fundamental reason behind our success is a concerted strategy of content, distribution and promotion aided by the astronomical rise in viewership during the early weeks of the lockdown. This has been discussed in relevant media forums openly, repeatedly and live.” Here among other reports, Das mentioned an interaction done with Adgully that appeared in the news website on July 14, 2020 (Those doubting us should do their homework: Barun Das, CEO, TV9 Network).
He also lashed out at NBA, who, he said, “seems to give credence to some anonymous Whatsapp messages and videos doing the rounds to defame TV9 Network. These videos have already been dismissed as fake by BARC as per media reports. The Network has lodged a formal complaint with the Telengana police.”
On a concluding note, Das said, “Meanwhile, we will continue to stick to basics of business.”