'Lakhs of livelihood at stake': TV9 urges MIB to resume TRPs

The TRPs for news channels have been suspended since October, 2020 in the wake of the ongoing inve

NEW DELHI: With TV viewership ratings for news channels on pause for over four months, the TV9 Network on Saturday wrote to Union information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar, urging the government to immediately resume the television rating points (TRPs) for news genre.

In a letter addressed to Javadekar, TV9’s chief executive officer Barun Das questioned BARC’s decision to single out news genre for suspension. “News genre commands 12 per cent of the total viewership and 18 per cent revenue of the industry. So, why is that the rating system which is bad for roughly 12 per cent of the TV industry, good for the rest 88 per cent?” wrote Das.

The letter expressed concerns over how advertisers are getting increasingly suspicious about the news genre, since ratings have been suspended only for news. "This will not cause the revenue for the news genre to further shrink, but lead to more job losses and distress to employees," it read.

Das further wrote that selective and irrational suspension of news genre ratings “favours established players and creates difficulty for other players.”

BARC had suspended its weekly ratings of TV news channels across languages in October 2020 for a period of three months following furore over allegations of TRP manipulation by certain channels. “A pause was necessitated to enable the industry and BARC to work closely to review its already stringent protocols and further augment them," BARC India chairman Punit Goenka had said at the time of the decision.

“The declared duration of suspension is long gone, but there is no sign or sight of returning to BARC ratings for the news genre, putting the very survival of news channels in jeopardy,” stated Das.

The letter also criticised the National Broadcasters Association (NBA)’s stance on the issue and asserted that “it is not a fair representation of the industry” and hundreds of news channels are not part of the NBA.

TV9's letter also speculated about the possibility of "vested interests being served" through the suspension of viewership ratings.

A few weeks ago, the NBA had criticised the credibility of BARC in a public statement, called its ratings “unreliable” and said that they should continue to remain suspended in wake of the allegations.

As many as 50 other channels have also written a joint letter to MIB on Saturday expressing concerns over the prolonged suspension of TRPs and appealing for its immediate suspension.

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