Television

In deference to court, BARC to release suspended channels' data

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MUMBAI: Country’s TV audience ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC), in deference to Bombay High Court, has decided to renew audience measurement and release of data of all the three TV news channels it had suspended for four weeks on 24 November, 2016.

However, BARC would continue to pursue the cases in the court.

While one of the suspended channels, India News, had moved the court earlier managing to get interim relief, the case relating to V6 News was taken up by the court on Tuesday.

BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta stated, "BARC India respects ad-interim order of (the) court, and is following through on implementing the same with respect to its subscriber data with effect from this week. As the matter remains sub-judice, it would not be appropriate to say anything beyond this at the moment."

Though no official confirmation is available, but BARC India is expected to convey the same to all its subscribers on Wednesday assuring them that the ratings organisation would work towards further streamlining its on-ground processes so as to plug loopholes, if any, and work towards a transparent and more robust data eco-system.

Towards the end of November, BARC India, in an unprecedented move, had informed its subscribers that it was suspending for four weeks the ratings of India News, TV9 Telegu and V6 News owing to suspected mala fide practices. Subsequently, all the three TV channels moved courts within a space of few days with India News leading the way.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Subir Kumar, who represented V6 News in the high court on 13 December, 2016, said that BARC India had partially argued the case on 9 December 2016 and had sought more time from the court. On the next hearing (13 December) BARC told the court that it was withdrawing the suspension of ratings review of V6 News. As a result of this development, BARC India would release data relating to V6 in the normal course for the fourth week (the last week in BARC's purported suspension), the lawyer added.

Pointing out that his client would appeal in the court seeking release of the ratings review of the previous three weeks by BARC as well, Kumar said that V6 News had also filed an injunction seeking damages of Rs 11 crore (Rs. 110 million) for allegedly “damaging the reputation and goodwill of V6 channel.”

Reacting to the development, V6 News assistant editor Murali Krishna conveyed to Indiantelevision.com a message from V6 News chief editor and CEO Ravi Ankam. The message read: "We believe in highest values of journalism and grown with public support. We always said our ratings are consistent and fair. We approached the court of law for the truth to come out. We believe that BARC was misguided. We hope BARC will correct its system to protect the interests of popular channels like V6 News."

The Bombay HC on 6 December, 2016 had stayed the suspension of ratings review of India News even as BARC hinted at continuing its crusade. TV9, which too, reportedly, has subsequently got a favourable interim order from the court, could not be reached for an official reaction despite phone calls on Tuesday.

ALSO READ:

HC stays India News ratings suspension; BARC hints at continuing crusade

V6 challenges suspension; BARC to place facts before court

BARC India suspends three errant channels' review

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