MUMBAI: India‘s pubcaster Prasar Bharati says it is going to continue with its subscription to TAM‘s TV ratings services. "Why should we unsubscribe?" asks its CEO Jawhar Sircar.
In recent times, Prasar Bharati‘s DD Samachar, and DD News‘ prime time bulletins have been scoring well in the prime time slot and the ratings of these have climbed up in contrast to private channels, the programmes of which have shown a drop.
Sircar also alleges that the TV broadcasters association, The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has become an elite club protecting the interests of only certain leading private broadcast TV networks, which has become even more evident in the entire TV ratings crisis that has hit India in the past two weeks.
"For many years, Prasar Bharati‘s heads were driving the IBF right from Anil Baijal to Rajeeva Ratna Shah to KS Sharma. But in recent times, the IBF has become a closed club. We are not included in its functioning," says Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar.
"When we had issues with the TV ratings with TAM, which of the private broadcasters supported us?" questions Sircar. "They totally stayed away."
"We are the only ones who have taken some action against TAM: the Competition Commission of India is investigating the matter," he adds.
Sircar says he has expressed his concerns over the current TV ratings crisis to the ministry of information & broadcasting.
"After coverage of the LC1 markets was brought in at the behest of the government and Prasar Bharati our ratings have improved; while the private satellite TV channels have not," he says. "I am totally against removing LC1 markets from the TAM TV ratings sample. Yes, you can improve TAM‘s reporting but I am not in favour of there being no TV ratings."
A consensus seems to be developing in the broadcast industry that TAM should put its ratings service on hold for a while and get its house in order before starting to report them again.
Sircar says that in recent times Prasar Bharati has been excluded from most IBF decisions. "There was just one case where the DD director general Tripurari Sharan was called," he says. "They have been wanting me to come, but I do send an official on occasion."
IBF officials deny this. They say Prasar Bharati has been made aware of every action. "We have never told broadcasters to unsubscribe from TAM. We just sent an advisory to our members making them aware of that some members are not happy with the ratings," IBF secretary general Shailesh Shah had told indiantelevision.com on 10 June.