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Television Rating In India

Television Rating In India


  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has constituted a committee to review guidelines on Television Rating agencies in India.
  • In 2014, Ministry of I&B formulated policy guidelines for Television Rating Agencies to operate in India. o 2014 guidelines provide for self- regulation of television ratings through an industry-led body like Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC)
    • BARC is an industry-led body represented by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).
    • BARC India commenced its operations in 2015 and since then it is the sole provider of Television Rating services on a commercial basis.

What is TRP?

  • TRP stands for Television Rating Points. It represents how many people, from which socio-economic categories, watched which channels for how much time during a particular period.
  • This could be for an hour, a day, or even a week; India follows the international standard of one minute. The data is usually made public every week.
  • According to the  Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)  TRPS is defined as: “On the basis of audience measurement data, ratings are assigned to various programmes on television. Television ratings in turn influence programmes produced for the viewers.

Calculation of TRP

  • BARC has installed “BAR-O-meters” in over 45,000 empanelled households. These households are classified into 12 categories under the New Consumer Classification System (NCCS), the so-called “new SEC” adopted by BARC in 2015, based on the education level of the main wage earner and the ownership of consumer durables from a list of 11 items ranging from an electricity connection to a car.
  • While watching a show, members of the household register their presence by pressing their viewer ID button, every person in household has a separate ID so that capturing the duration for which the channel was watched and by whom, and providing data on viewership habits across age and socio-economic groups. The panel chosen to capture TRPs must be representative of the country’s population, and the methodology must be economically viable for the industry.

Significance of television rating

  • It assists advertisers, broadcasters and advertising agencies in selecting the right media at the right time to reach the target audience.
  • Television ratings influence programmes produced for the viewers. Better ratings would promote aprogramme while poor ratings will discourage a programme.
  • TV ratings form an important constituent of fund flows in television industry.

Issues with Television ratings in India

  • Lack of Validations: The ratings are not subjected to any validity tests. There is no independent audit carried out on the methodology adopted by the rating agencies
  • Limitations of sample size: Inadequate representation of the plurality of the platforms, regions, rural and small towns to reflect correctly the viewership.
  • Leakage of panel homes which could lead to manipulated ratings: TRP data be manipulated when broadcasters find households where BAR-O-meters installed and bribe them to watch their channels. They can also bribe the cable operators to make their channel as ‘landing page’, making the channel first thing to appear after the TV is switched on. o Recently, Mumbai Police investigating a scam about manipulation of TRPs by rigging the devices used by the BARC. Manipulation does not involve just financial fraud, but a bigger crime of fraud on the people’s right to know the truth, which the media is morally and legally bound to provide.
  • Inadequate competition: There is little or no competition in the rating services.
  • Reliability of the ratings: A lack of transparency in the method adopted for selection of the households and confidentiality of the names of the panel households
  • Ownership issues: Biased ratings on account of the presence of the interested parties in the ownership of rating agencies.

Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC)

  • It is an industry body jointly owned by advertisers, ad agencies, and broadcasting companies, represented by The Indian Society of Advertisers, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Advertising Agencies Association of India.
  • Though it was created in 2010, the I&B Ministry notified the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India on 2014 and registered BARC in 2015 under these guidelines, to carry out television ratings in India.

TRP controversies in Past

  • In 2000s, there were two rating agencies Television Audience Measurement (TAM) and INTAM in India providing data for TRPs. There were major mismatch and disputes in the data provided by both agencies.
  • TAM bought over the INTAM in 2001, leading to cartelisation in the TRP system, killing any possibility of scrutiny of the figures provided by TAM.
  • As a result, despite having 35 out of the top 50 programmes in all TV homes, none of the Door darshan channels was present in the top 50 slots in the C&S (Cable & Satellite) homes category, as per the data of TAM.
  • In another such controversy, a news channel with just 4 per cent prime time news was declared as number 1(“sab se Tez”) by TAM instead of DD National with 92 per cent share in prime-time news.
  • Data was collected on the basis of 2,000 “BAR-O-meters” installed one each in a house, on the back cover of the TVs.
  • The controversy was raised in the parliament in 2008. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) to frame policy guidelines for rating agencies.
  • TRAI recommended for self-regulation through an industry-led body, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Thus, BARC came into existence.
  • In Jan. 2014, MIB notified Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies and in 2015 BARC was accredited to television ratings in India. In 2016, TAM exited TV viewership measurement, not BARC is the sole TV rating service provider.

Way forward

  • BARC should conduct a study in collaboration with the Indian Statistical Institute or any other institute of repute, to estimate the appropriate sample size, and to get the correct representation of the viewership including regional and niche channels.
  • There is a need for the Government regulation for the system of Television Rating. Industry body should report to TRAI / Autonomous body set up by the Government; who should give guidelines and certify the rating to ensure its independence, scientific basis and accuracy.
  • Constant up-gradations of the technology would be required in the measurement devices.
  • Rating agencies should have proper systems in place to safeguard the secrecy of the sampled panel homes. The systems should be subjected to independent audits.
  • There a need to promote competition in television rating services to ensure transparency, neutrality and fairness to give TV rating.


Mussoorie Times

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