Mumbai: Yesterday BARC released a statement saying they would be pausing Audience Estimates for the next 8-12 weeks. What made them do this because as far as we understand the BARC Meter does not differentiate between genres or was BARC pressurized by the GEC Broadcasters to do this? The news genre saw a huge spike in News Viewership and continues to do so, was GEC facing the heat when it came to advertising revenues?
We spoke to Arnab Goswami on this issue, he says,’ this move by BARC is unilateral and he also questioned as to why BARC did not consult NBF which has 70 members on board and they never bothered to discuss this issue with us, also what I find suspicious is that within a few seconds of the BARC Press Release all the NBA members in a choreographed manner commented on it and congratulated BARC on this move.’
On the question of this sudden move as to whether BARC was under pressure from certain quarters to take this step, Goswami, said,’ I still cannot figure this out as to how could have BARC taken this decision, secondly if BARC was sincere about this move they should have stopped it across the board instead of just targeting the News Channels. The meter does not differentiate between GEC, Sports and News and it is totally unfair as there is no proven charges against us. Thirdly there is a channel which was found guilty and fined 5 lacs for tampering by Justice Mukul Mudgal. He also says, that are some GEC’s feeling the pinch as News Channels are eating into their revenues and is BARC working on the behest of theses GEC players?
Goswami says, ‘if you have to suspend ratings then do it across all channels and legally they cannot target just one group as it is patently illegal and a one sided move. The IBF representative on the BARC board represents the channel which BARC has found guilty of TRP manipulation. That member should be removed from the BARC board and IBF must pull back that person as their representative. It is a massive issue of illegality and conflict of interest.’
On the question of revenues, Arnab said, ‘we are the leaders by far in the news genre and our viewership both in English and Hindi is very high.’
One moot question here is do only News Channels tamper meters for TRP’s, don’t GEC do it? Also how a person from the channel which was fined by BARC now part of the BARC board?