Sharing raw-level data with broadcasters should be very useful to bring about transparency and check manipulation, I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra told BestMediaInfo.com.
Chandra, who ordered the resumption of suspended television ratings for the news genre immediately after taking over as I&B Secretary, has been meeting with BARC India officials frequently to make the rating system fool-proof.
BARC’s ratings system including processes has been under the scanner since the TRP scam broke on October 8, 2020. Two former CEOs of BARC India – Partho Dasgupta and Sunil Lulla – were charge-sheeted by investigating agencies for alleged manipulation of ratings.
Moreover, the stakeholders have been accusing the BARC’s system and processes of being prone to all sorts of manipulations through external and internal interventions.
The internal intervention came to light when an audit report prepared by Acquisory Consulting in 2020 revealed that the manipulation was done while processing the raw-level data.
Basis a chart from the audit report, BestMediaInfo.com reported how the viewership data of Times Now was reduced drastically from raw to final data to keep Republic No. 1.
Not only this, Republic’s numbers were not touched in the weeks between July to October 2017. It was the same period when Goswami had chats with Dasgupta from which it could be concluded that his channel was present on the landing page of Kolkata’s largest MSO ICNCL.
“Is this why BARC was hiding the raw-level data from the broadcasters,” the broadcasters, who fully funded the rating agency, repeatedly asked.
On the other hand, the RLD was available to advertisers and their agencies.
Despite the deep rot in the system, Chandra has been making efforts to ensure the television rating body regains the stakeholders’ confidence.
The ministry’s order to share raw-level data with broadcasters is one such effort to check manipulation.
On August 10, the ministry ordered BARC to share Raw Level Data up to the preceding week (i.e. RLD data of the viewership for W-1th week when the TRP is being reported for the Wth week) with the broadcasters in a transparent and equitable manner while ensuring that the integrity and confidentiality of the BARC panels is maintained at all times.
Further, the ministry asked BARC to must adhere to all the requisites and prescriptions of the “Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in lndia".