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TRAI releases recommendations for issues related to RAM

Advertisers and agencies require radio audience measurement (RAM) which indicates the popularity of a channel or a programme

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | September 16, 2016

traiThe Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recently released its recommendations on ‘issues related on radio audience measurement (RAM) and ratings in India.’

RAM, which measures listenership of radio stations, has been essential since advertising is the sole source of revenue for FM radio operators and the advertisement revenue of the radio broadcasting sector is directly linked to listenership of radio channels. Therefore, advertisers and agencies require RAM, which indicates the popularity of a channel or a programme and assists them in selecting the right channel or programme at the right time to reach the target audience.

After the completion of phase-III, the listenership is expected to grow further and as a result, the advertisements on radio are likely to increase.

The present system of radio ratings in India appears to have certain deficiencies that have been highlighted by stakeholders at various forums. Continuance with an inadequate radio rating is likely to hamper the growth of the radio industry as financial decisions are largely influenced by radio ratings.

In order to address the concerns of stakeholders, the TRAI has suo motu issued a consultation paper on ‘issues related to radio audience measurement and ratings in India’ on March 15, 2016. The paper invited written comments and counter comments by April 11, 2016 and April 25, 2016. The authority held an open house discussion on May 18 and has arrived at its recommendations after examining various issues.

The authority adopted a light touch approach and recommended a regulatory framework for radio rating system in India that is conducive to growth, forward looking, and addresses the concerns of the stakeholders while protecting the interests of the consumer.

The salient features of the recommendations are:

  • Guidelines for rating system to be notified by MIB.
  • Any agency meeting the eligibility conditions can apply and get registered with MIB for doing the rating work. No cap on number of rating agencies has been prescribed.
  • All rating agencies, including industry-led body, are required to comply with the guidelines.
  • Guidelines to cover registration, eligibility norms, cross-holding, methodology for conducting rating, compliant redressal, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and penal provisions.
  • Voluntary code of conduct by the industry for maintaining secrecy and privacy of the listeners included in the rating process.
  • Restrictions on ‘substantial equity holding of 10 per cent or more’ between rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies have been prescribed.
  • The rating agency to set up an effective compliant redressal system.
  • Data/reports generated by the rating agency to be made available to all interested stakeholders in a transparent and equitable manner.
  • The rating agency to get its entire methodology/processes audited internally on quarterly basis and through an independent auditor annually. All audit reports to be put on the website of the rating agency.
  • Penal provisions for non-compliance of guidelines.
  • Twelve months time to the existing rating agency to comply with the guidelines.

The full text of the recommendations is available on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in.

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Tags: TRAI
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