In a significant development, the News Broadcasters Federation has urged the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting to pause ratings for all genres until the government decides on the suggestions of the committee report.
According to sources, NBF has written to MIB citing the pause in ratings only for news genre since October 2020, initially for a period of 8-12 weeks, but the ratings have not resumed despite the passage of time. Earlier this month, MIB had asked BARC to maintain status quo and hold back ratings until it decides on the suggestions given by a Committee which was appointed to look into the issue.
“We request your urgent intervention to order to withhold ratings of all genres of satellite television by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), a move that would save the broadcasting sector and bring in the much-needed change and transparency (in the audience measurement systems),” R. Jai Krishna, Secretary-General, News Brodcasters Federation, wrote in the representation to MIB Secretary, Amit Khare. “It is imperative and crucial for all ratings to be paused by BARC until the Government decides on the Committee report on Television Audience Measurement.”
As a trade body that represents the editorial and business interests of news TV channels, NBF has said that the ratings were stopped citing reports of alleged manipulation by at least three channels. In fact, only one of the three channels named by the Mumbai police belongs to the news genre, while the two other channels were from the non-news category or entertainment channels. However, BARC had singled out only the news genre when it decided to pause the ratings to overhaul the ratings collecting and collating system.
The MIB had then appointed a Committee led by Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi Shekar Vempatti to look into the issue, and the report has been submitted. MIB is however yet to take a final decision on the suggestions given by the committee.