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NDTV lawsuit may trigger Govt action on BARC

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NEW DELHI: The petition filed by NDTV against TAM in New York may force the Government to speed up BARC‘s progress on revamping the television audience measurement system, particulary since the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has failed to do so.

In fact, the Government had expressed its concern to IBF officials over a month earlier about the delay in moving the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) forward so that the first audience survey report could come by July next year.

In a meeting held at the initiative of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry a few weeks earlier, Additional Secretary Rajiv Takru had told IBF that the government may step in to ensure that the timeline is met.

The IBF had taken cognizance of the Committee headed by former Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Amit Mitra on TRP ratings.

The Committee had said though self-regulation is the best way forward for the broadcasting industry, it expressed "the fear that in case significant progress is not made within defined timelines, the Government may be left with no option but to step in, primarily because of the nature of public concerns that have been raised and debated across many platforms".

The IBF, the Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) had late last year set up BARC, a nationwide audience research joint body. Its primary aim: not to exclude or work outside TAM but to model itself like BARB (Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board) in the UK; it would not conduct audience measurement directly but commission it.

Late last week, NDTV filed the lawsuit in New York seeking injunction against publication of television ratings by TAM Media Research. NDTV also sought $810 million as compensation for the loss in revenues it suffered over the years and $580 million in penalty for negligence by Nielsen and Kantar officials.

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NDTV sues TAM, Nielsen for manipulation of data

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