In a major development in the release of news channel ratings which was on hold for the past 16 months, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on Wednesday asked the Broadcasters Audience and Research Council (BARC) to release the data for the genre with immediate effect. The ministry has asked BARC to release data for the past three months, in a monthly format, for fair and equitable representation of true trends, with the revised system requiring the reporting of news and niche genres to be carried out on a four-week rolling average concept.
The news broadcast industry welcomed the move by the ministry which was struggling with the lack of viewership data which had an adverse effect on the ad revenues of the channels. They are optimistic about surge in the ad revenue of news channels.
According to Barun Das, CEO, TV9 Network, the decision to have ratings now onwards on a four-week rolling average concept is the need of the hour.
“I welcome the government’s decision to finally resume ratings for the news genre. I have for long been advocating the need to restore ratings while questioning the suspension decision in the first place. NBF’s efforts in this direction have been exemplary,” Das added.
“Resumption of news ratings is very much essential for the health of the news industry,” observes Manoj Gairola, Director & Editor-in-Chief, News Nation Network Pvt Ltd.
“We are thankful to the government for their efforts to make BARC-India more transparent. We welcome MIB’s instructions to BARC for the immediate release of ratings for the news genre. We are also thankful to our colleagues at NBF. News Nation along with NBF members have always advocated what’s good for the news industry,” he added.
According to Republic TV CEO Vikas Khanchandani, the ratings will help the news genre to bring incremental business from brands that have been under indexing advertising investments.
“Republic Netwok is extremely pleased that the ratings are commencing again. The NBF team and its members have been representing to all the stakeholders for the same since a while. It’s important to provide transparency to advertisers and agency partners and absence of data has been a huge concern,” he added.
It is a welcome move by the ministry and good news for small and medium news broadcasters like 24. I hope BARC has taken all the corrective measures which led to the blackout of the channel ratings. Thankful to the colleagues at NBF for fighting out on the behalf of the industry for the release of the data,” said Anil Ayroor, Group COO, Flowers & 24.
According to Anil, another positive aspect of the government direction is that the monthly base rating system is being brought in, which is a welcome move as minute-by-minute ratings in news channels will create unhealthy competition.
“The monthly rating system keeps the competition at bay and content can be healthy and of good quality,” he added.
Naveen Sreenivasan, Head Media Solutions TRD, Mathrubhumi Group believes that the release of the data will definitely give a boost to the news channels advertising.
He further added, “It’s definitely welcome news. A credible measurement system is essential not only from the advertising perspective but also from a content strategy perspective for Channels. While indicators like social media performance have been used for broad directions in some areas, they are not representative.”
According to R Jai Krishna, Secretary-General, News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), the MIB’s decision is a right move in the right direction, giving both a moral and economic boost to the FTA news channels who have adhered to public interest journalism, despite the pause in BARC ratings for the past 16 months.
“I’m extremely proud and delighted to say that NBF took the lead in ensuring ratings are released. It’s a welcome decision by MIB and this is bound to be a blessing for News Broadcasters all over the country,” said Shankar B, CEO, Fourth Dimension Media & Vice President of NBF.