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Updated: BARC flexes its muscle, suspends ratings of three news channels

The rating agency, in a bold move, has suspended for four weeks the ratings data for one Hindi news channel and two Telugu news channels from Week 46 to Week 49 2016 suspecting malafide practices

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | November 24, 2016

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At a time when Hindi news channels are witnessing unprecedented spike in viewership following the government “strike” to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes which is affecting the daily lives of common man, there is another strike for the first time – by BARC India on three news channels. The rating agency, in a bold move, has suspended the ratings data for India News, TV9 Telegu, and V6 News from Week 46 to Week 49 of 2016 for suspected malafide practices.

With the release of Week 46 data today, when BestMediaInfo.com did not find India News among the top 5 Hindi news channels, it tried to connect to BARC India officials who refrained from commenting. On digging further with multiple sources in news channels, BestMediaInfo.com found that India News, TV9 Telegu and V6 News have been penalised for suspected malafide practices.

According to the sources, BARC had sent a heads-up regarding its action to all its subscribers this morning.

The sources told BestMediaInfo.com that a communication from BARC made its intent clear that any wrongdoing with its household panels will not be tolerated. “BARC aggressively investigates on its own initiative and also responds to any claims it receives of fraud regarding BARC panel households. Any individual or group of households suspected of being compromised are immediately removed from reporting in the BARC weekly published ratings release,” said the communication from the rating agency sent to its subscribers. “In these markets BARC is already dropping a sizeable amount from the reporting sample of suspicious viewing or known fraud. This drop will have an impact on the robustness of the data and would increase the degree of fluctuations temporarily.”

The sources said, quoting BARC’s communication, that the rating agency had assured them about being vigilant. “BARC clients are asked to take into consideration that BARC’s efforts are on-going on both on ground and during daily data examinations to minimize the impact on the published ratings of attempts to compromise the panel by certain individuals and entities. While these criminal acts may succeed in compromising some members of the BARC panel, however, these are temporary spurts for the channels which will not be sustainable over a long term. They need be aware that once there is sufficient proof of malafide intent, BARC will stop publishing ratings for these channels,” warned the rating agency.

Update:

Commenting on the development, Varun Kohli, CEO, India News, said, “We are shocked to hear this and ceased of the decision taken by BARC.  We are trying to talk to all the stakeholders including BARC to resolve the matter and address any misgivings. We are confident that the matter will be sorted out soon.  We are a credible Network in the Broadcasting business for the last 8 years and we have shown consistent growth for the last 5 years in TAM & BARC ratings. We believe in the transparency of the system and intend getting into the bottom of the matter and exploring all the options available to us.”

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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