TRPs to top agenda at crucial IBF meeting today

It's all happening at the Indian Broadcasting Foundation. The representative body of broadcasters is meeting today at 6:00 pm at The Club in Mumbai's western suburb of Andheri, with - you guessed it - the TRP issue at the top of the agenda.

With Zee broadcasting CEO Sandeep Goyal having declared that he has absolutely no faith in both the ratings agencies - ORG Marg's INTAM and AC Nielsen's TAM Research - the meeting is expected to produce some fireworks.

Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, Sony Entertainment Television CEO Kunal Dasgupta and vice-chairman and managing director of SABe TV Markand Adhikari are also among those who have confirmed they will be present.

According to Dasgupta, another issue that will be raised regards the "hedging" that Star and Zee apparently resorted to after the recent IBF decision to ban three agencies - McCann Erickson, HTA (Hindustan Thompson Associates) and HTA Fulcrum (handles the Hindustan Levers account) - for alleged payment defaults.

It was the first concrete decision by the IBF to play a role like that of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) which blacklists agencies that play truant as far as payments to member newspaper organisations are concerned. Once the agency is placed on the blacklist, other INS members are supposed to co-operate and not carry any of their ads.

Though the IBF declared its blacklists on 15 September (a Saturday), till 19 September (Wednesday) when the dispute was resolved, neither Zee nor Star had instituted the ban. Even allowing for the fact that it takes 48 hours to make changes as far as ad scheduling is concerned for broadcasters that uplink from outside India, the embargo should have been effected by Monday evening or Tuesday morning at the latest.

On Wednesday, when the embargo was called off, Star was quoted as saying it would take at least till Friday to pull out the ads.

It is not clear whether any other issues will be raised at the meeting.

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