Report on Hindi News Viewership

Some people’s misdoings cannot put BARC under spotlight: Shashi Sinha

BARC is already working to ensure sample sizes do not misrepresent.

NEW DELHI: Ever since it was unearthed, the TRP gaming racket has caused a lot of upheaval and drawn broadcasters, regulators and research agencies into its web. The incident has raised a big question mark on the functioning and standing of the industry. Now, chairperson of BARC’s technical committee Shashi Sinha has come on record to slam the parties involved in the case, without mentioning them by name.

“Rating is all about egos and keeping their masters happy… What they don’t play is that they are number 1 of 0.1 per cent or one per cent ratings. Some people’s misdoings cannot put BARC under spotlight. They have done undue damage,” said Sinha in a webcast with Governance Now MD Kailashnath Adhikari during the Visionary Talk series.

Speaking in defense of BARC, the media veteran called it “one of the best systems in the world.” The problem, in Sinha’s view, is its getting into controversy with news genres.

“News is a niche genre and not bought on ratings. At any given time one per cent people watch English prime time news. So one per cent of 44,000 homes is 440 homes that watch the 16 news channels and the average is 20-25 homes. The ratings are rounded off to 0.2, 0.3 or 0.01 etc,” he explained, adding that the level of rating error is very high and a channel with high ratings may not get best rates.

Sinha, who is also the CEO of IPG Media Brands India, claimed that since there is a lack of self-regulation in the industry, people have started blaming the ratings agency, which is not right. He stated that BARC is already working to plug the gaps in its system.

“BARC will do course correction. We are working to ensure sample sizes do not misrepresent. In the next few weeks we will find a solution. I think all big newscasters are realising we should not hurt the body,” he said.

He went on to say that an industry body like BARC, where the board is governed by stakeholders including agencies, clients and broadcasters coming together to run it, exists only in France and some other countries worldwide. “I think BARC is a strong currency… Very basic things are right about it. The marking technology in place is more advanced than many other markets and the panel of 45,000 is the largest and more than double of China, a country more advanced than India. The funders i.e. the big networks and broadcasters are credible people.”

The Mumbai police had on 8 October alleged that three channels — Republic TV, Box Cinema and Marathi channel Fakt Marathi — were rigging TRP ratings to increase their advertisement revenue.

The TRP scam came to light when BARC filed a complaint through Hansa Research Group, alleging that certain television channels were rigging TRP numbers.

In the meantime, BARC has hit the pause button on the weekly measurement of TRP for news channels for three months.WWWSWSAA

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