TV ratings issue listed for cabinet discussion on 9 Jan

MUMBAI: The year 2013 saw quite a ruckus being raised about the ratings process being followed in the country. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in September 2013 came out with a recommendation paper after receiving suggestions from stakeholders on its consultation paper regarding the same.

The paper got the ministry of information and broadcasting’s (MIB) nod in mid-November. Now it has been listed for consideration and approval by the cabinet committee on economic affairs on 9 January.

Complaints about TV ratings in India have been aired for several years now. However, the TRAI released its recommendations only late last year on the way forward. In its paper it gave several suggestions to improve the quality of the ratings, one suggestion was that ratings agencies should register themselves with the MIB  and no one from its board of directors  should be involved in the business of broadcasting or advertising. They will have to give Rs 10 lakh as registration fee and produce a bank guarantee of Rs 1 crore.

The minimum number of houses was recommended to be doubled to 20,000, to be increased by 10,000 till it reaches 50,000. 25 per cent of the viewership panel being monitored should be rotated every year. 

If the ratings agencies failed to follow the guidelines they would be penalised, the severest being cancellation of the registration. 

If the new ratings guidelines do get the cabinet's nod, it means that the existing ratings agency TAM Media will have to invest anywhere between Rs 200-250 crore to scale up its panel and get itself registered with the MIB. The Broadcast Audience Research Council - which currently has the full backing of the broadcast, advertising and marketing industries and is racing to start its services by mid-2014 – will also have to follow the same course of MIB registration.

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