Television

News channel controversy: BARC India fires riposte to NBA

MUMBAI: The muck is flying thick and fast in the English news channel genre. Yesterday, the English news channel members of the News Broadcasters Association decided to pull out of the Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) viewership monitoring by removing its watermark from their channels. This followed the BARC’s decision to release data for week 19 despite the NBA urging it not to do so as debutante the Arnab Goswami headed Republic TV had resorted to dual and multiple LCN placement of the channel to pump up its viewership.
The net result: Republic TV emerged as the leader in the genre beating back old time vets such as Times Now, India Today, NDTV 24x7, NewsX and CNN News 18.

A short while ago, BARC issued a clarification to indiantelevision.com stating that multiple LCN placement is rampant in the news television industry and nobody can call the kettle black. Said it in a statement:

“The fact is that this is a common distribution strategy among various TV channels, particularly News Broadcasters, to place their channels on multiple LCNs and across genres in the past, and they continue to do so even now.

Based on information collected from various monitoring agencies we have seen that multiple English news channels on different occasions have placed themselves on multiple LCNs viz across 64 distribution networks during rebranding/revamp, across 16 networks during budget coverage, across 12 networks during UP elections etc. It has become a usual practice.”

“We have a transparent policy on the matter of measuring channels, (which is available on our website http://bit.ly/2dllmIp). This policy has been consistently applied to all channels who subscribe to our measurement.

“We are clear about our position - we measure viewership of channels basis their unique Watermark ID, irrespective of the platform the channel is available on or the number of instances within the platform. For channels having same watermark on more than one LCN, viewership gets aggregated and reported as a single channel and not multiple channels. BARC India neither monitors channel placements across the various DTH platforms/cable head-ends in the country, nor does it have the mandate to do so.

“In the past, we have measured multiple LCN instances of channels as per our policy, and reported them as one channel and the same principle has been applied to our data released yesterday. BARC India is not the regulatory body for resolving issues concerning multiplicity of LCNs for a channel.

“Ideally these issues should be sorted among broadcasters themselves rather than dragging BARC India into these.

BARC India will continue to measure what India watches."

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