English TV news channels to return to BARC fold from midnight 26 May

MUMBAI: There’s another twist in the tale of the story of the ratings of news television channel debutante Republic TV. The five English TV news channel members of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) of India, which had stripped their signals of Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC’s) audio water mark last week, agreed to reinsert it in their streams from their studios just as the clock hand moves past midnight of 26 May.

This means that NDTV 24x7, Times Now, India Today, NewsX and CNN News18 will once again come under the ambit of BARC’s viewership monitoring. Around a week ago, they had raised a protest after BARC had refused to heed their plea that it should not report Republic TV’s ratings as it had allegedly resorted to rampant multiple LCN placement on cable TV networks across India.

A spate of appeals, petitions, court hearings followed, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India cracked down on the errant cable TV platforms and almost every appellant and respondent claimed victory following the court orders and directions.

But finally, hopefully the curtains have been drawn on the messy affair of English news channels, Republic TV, the NBA, TRAI and BARC which suddenly brought them under the spotlight.

According to a report in a legal website, TV Today Network that had asked for reliefs in a case filed by it against Republic TV in Delhi HC, at one stage submitted that if the malpractice was no longer existent then it would not press for the reliefs prayed for in the petition, provided that the respondents state this on record. After the taking the statements of the respondents on record, the petition was dismissed as withdrawn without the court going into the contentions of either the petitioners or respondents.

However, NBA maintained the resolution to the crisis was found with Republic TV committing to the Delhi High court that it will cease resorting to placing itself on multiple LCNs and BARC explaining to the association the process to approach such complaints satisfactorily.

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