The News Broadcasters Federation (NBF) has written a letter to the Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, expressing its concern on Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) failure to address the ongoing issue of landing pages.
NBF in the letter said that the non-addressal of the landing page matter has compromised the whole TV audience measurement system.
The letter stated that allowing landing pages to be a measure of viewership stops and prevents a fair competitive environment.
“The use of Landing Pages to alter viewership data is predatory behaviour. lt is a purely restrictive trade practice that encourages exclusionary behaviour in the news industry,” the letter reads.
NBF alleged that the brazen use of landing pages, bought at a price, to artificially amplify viewership data of certain channels, gives channels with deep pockets an anti-competitive advantage.
The letter further said, “It is shocking that some news channels today get 84pc of their viewership from just two states in India, because of landing pages. lt lays the foundation for all those corporates who also run news organisations to redirect their cash flow toward landing pages as a means to edge out other honest news players.”
NBF alleged that through this practice, democratic freedom of the press is being subverted.
“In the past, BARC had included unfiltered outliers data from Landing Page for its ratings data, but had later decided to exclude it from viewership. Therefore, it is clear that BARC has both the ability and the precedent of filtering out Landing Page data while calculating viewership, but is still not doing so. ln fact, in the past, BARC had itself termed the use of landing pages as a “false exaggeration” of viewership,” the letter added.
NBF further requested the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to intervene in light of BARC’s failure to address the situation.