I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra has reiterated that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is actively working to address to ensure transparency and reliability in television audience measurement.
Chandra told Storyboard18 that the Ministry has urged the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to expand the number of households in their measurement, considering India's diverse regions and in return following which BARC has expressed its commitment to do it for a more comprehensive measurement process in the future.
“We have urged BARC to expand the number of households in their measurement, considering India's diverse regions. They have agreed to do that over time,” Chandra said.
“While the entertainment segment receives minimal complaints, the news segment, particularly English news, faces challenges due to a smaller sample size. To address concerns, we suggested one-month rolling data for news channels. Now, for the sake of transparency, we have advised BARC to provide raw-level data so that news channels can themselves see and arrive at their own conclusion based on it,” he added.
Following an order from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting with an objective to check manipulation in television ratings, BARC India had announced that the RLD would be available for broadcasters beginning October 12.
However, BestMediaInfo.com reported that the roll-out of RLD apparently turned out to be a futile exercise on the part of the I&B ministry aiming to address the grievances from broadcasters regarding manipulations of television ratings using external interventions.
Meanwhile, the ongoing discussion about content and how it should be regulated has sparked new debates, especially with the introduction of draft recommendations for a Broadcasting Services Bill. Some experts are also questioning if it is fair to include OTT in the Bill.
Sharing his views on this, Chandra said, “We have released the Broadcast Services Bill, for public comments, inviting a healthy and informative debate. We are open to incorporating valuable feedback into the final version. The existing regulatory landscape for media is spread across various Acts like the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, and the IT Act for OTT. The new bill consolidates these regulations into different chapters, recognising the unique aspects of each domain. Notably, the regulation for OTT platforms is a light touch regulation and not the same as the others.”