New Delhi: Industry Regulator TRAI has directed the TV audience measurement agency, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to release the viewership data for the Week 6, pertaining to the period 2nd to 8th February with immediate effect.
Citing volatility in viewership during the implementation of the new tariff order, The BARC has been releasing the broadcast audience data only to its subscribers, ignoring an advisory from TRAI to release the data in accordance with the existing practice.
TRAI had has asked the data monitoring agency to furnish compliance latest by today (Monday, February 25), “failing which, appropriate action would be initiated” under relevant sections of the TRAI Act.
Directive from TRAI stated, “BARC India has modified its Fair and Permissible Usage Policy in February 14, 2019, even after being repeatedly asked by the authority to not stop publishing of rating data and viewership data on its website during the migration to a new regulatory framework until and unless explicitly permitted by the authority and are thus, in contravention of the direction of the authority dated December 21, 2018 and January 14, 2019”.
Earlier advisory issued by BARC India to ISA has indicated that the panel will continue to be representative during the transition period; however, the viewership data will not be usable given the challenges outlined. It will take a minimum of 6 weeks to assess the stability of the viewership numbers post the implementation of the NTO. Based on the these indications from BARC, the ISA Executive Council advised that the viewership data during the transition period should not be used for media planning, evaluation and buying perspectives.
TRAI directive also accused BARC that it has ignored its previous directives of publishing ratings and viewership data for TV channels. Terming BARC’s decision to “withhold” the data as unjust, It opposed the idea of not publishing the data, which, it feels, is a true reflection of the market changes.
However, the Broadcasters and stakeholders are not too keen to follow the ratings owing to the instability of channel distribution prevailing in the market and wish to have a breathing period to realign their distribution strategy according to the response from subscribers.