The oversight committee reviewing the outlier policy of BARC India that came under scanner after the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) legalised the usage of landing page has reportedly given a clean chit to the existing practices after three months of its formation.
Sources close to the development told BestMediaInfo.com that the two-member committee comprising former BARC Chairman Nakul Chopra and industry veteran Praveen Tripathi submitted its report to the BARC India board last week.
An email query sent to BARC India for its comments went unanswered.
It may be recalled that BARC India’s outlier policy for keeping a check on any unjustified spike in the viewership of any channel, which was in place since the beginning, landed in a controversy when BARC India released data for Week 22 without filtering out outliers following a TDSAT order.
The week had seen CNN-News18 positioned as the No. 1 English news channel, upsetting every other rival in the genre.
While the affected channels called for the need of continuing with the outlier policy, the channels spending heavily on the landing page suspected an unfair treatment when it came to excluding their outliers versus that of their competitors.
According to the sources in the know, the committee has categorically said that the outlier process was impartial and not prejudiced towards any particular channel. It went on to note that the entire process was fair, credible and comparable.
When the committee was formed earlier this year in June, BestMediaInfo.com had spoken to several industry experts and written that the outlier detection process was automated for large channels where it was easy to catch any major variation. However, for the English news genre, where the viewership base is too less compared with others, the automation was not effective. Hence, the manual process was being followed only for the smaller genres.
The committee in its report is said to have maintained that there was nothing manual and the process was fully rule and algorithm-based. It said that the process is based on sound fundamentals, according to the source.
The committee is of the view that the current rule would remain in place until it finds a better rule for landing page treatment.
More importantly, the committee also observed that details of statistical formula for landing or tampering should not be discussed with tech comm and board since both are users and customers of data.