The ministry of information and broadcasting has set up a committee to review the guidelines on television rating agencies in India under the chairmanship of Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharti.
According to the committee report accessed by Medianews4u.com, the committee has strongly recommended the combination of traditional sample based statistical approaches with big data approaches to overcome limitations of sample-based panels.
TRAI recommended to the committee that multiple data collection agencies should be encouraged as the competition for data collection and processing would bring in new technologies, research methodologies, and ways to ensure better data quality. To which the committee stated that the current guidelines are already favoring multiple rating agencies. However, the committee further noted that invisible barriers may have prevented the emergence of multiple rating agencies. The committee also stressed the need to rightly clarify the guidelines to enable the public broadcaster to exercise its functions and powers under section 12, sub-section 3(e) of the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990.
TRAI further recommended that MIB should amend the DTH License and MSO registration so as to mandate STBs capable of transferring viewership data and adoption of RPD technology. This transfer of data can be done by establishing a return path/connection from STB to the remote servers of the Audience Measurement agency. Another recommendation made by TRAI is that the anonymized viewership data should be transferred electronically to the Audience Measurement agency for statistical analysis and Television Rating purposes. The committee stated that the Return Path Data (RPD) is a necessary and essential capability which should be made an integral part of the audience measurement ecosystem through a mandate immediately.
Committee recommendations for multiple measurement agencies and need for activation of RPD (Return Path Data)
- The committee strongly recommends combining traditional sample based statistical approaches with big data approaches to overcome limitations of sample-based panels and to allay concerns over how representative such samples are.
- International experiences in the field may be studied, like that of Canada.
- The committee recommends that provision for RPD be made a mandatory capability in all future STBs deployed by DPOs, so that RPD becomes a ubiquitous capability on par with encryption, conditional access and other such mandatory STB level capabilities.
- Further, all collection of viewership data by DPOs should be governed by privacy norms prescribed by the government/regulator and additionally the sale or sharing of such viewership data by the DPOs with third parties should be governed by the guidelines for television rating systems.
- BARC India may be directed to accelerate the integration of already available RPD data into its ratings framework within a period of 6 months.
- A joint industry working group with representation from all relevant stakeholders and independent experts may be set up to specify the norms for an industry wide RPD mandate, to codify privacy protection, to govern sale/sharing of RPD Data in a transparent/accountable manner.
- It is recommended to modify Clause 5.3 in the guidelines on Panel Selection to allow enriching the panel data with RPD Data and for achieving the objective of “panel size as a percentage of total TV households” to be in line with global benchmarks of large and diverse markets such as the United States.