The Government has now entered into the Rating fray even as there is a big hue and cry on the rating system and its loopholes, alleging that the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is unable to rectify the breaches. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has notified the constituted a committee to review “Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in lndia.” on 4th November. Now the question is whether the present BARC Ratings will continue after the committee’s recommendations or not.
When there were allegations on the transparency of TAM ratings, TRAI has constituted a Ratings Commission, and based on the recommendations, new guidelines have been given. While TAM was unable to reach the criterion, BARC has emerged as the sole agency to give Ratings to TV channels. But, BARC is also not free from criticism. There are many allegations that the Ratings have been tampered. This has even led to police cases and even the CBI has registered an FIR. Under these circumstances, the Govt. has felt the need for a robust, transparent, and efficient Rating Agency.
Shri Shashi S. Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharti will be the chairman of this committee while Dr. Shalabh, Professor of Statistics, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, llT Kanpur. Dr. Rajkumar Upadhyay, Executive Director, C-DOT, and Professor Pulak Ghosh, Decision Sciences Centre for Public Policy (CPP) will be the members.
The Committee shall study past recommendations made by various forums on the subject of television rating systems in lndia and matter incidental thereto; Study recent recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority on the subject; Suggest steps for enhancing competition in the sector; Review of the presently notified guidelines to see if the intended purpose(s) of issuing the guidelines have stood the test of time and has met needs of various stakeholders involved. The lacunae, if any, shall be specially addressed by the Committee.
The Committee may invite any expert as a special invitee. The Committee shall submit its report to the Minister for lnformation & Broadcasting within two months of the date of issue of this order
Now the question is whether the committee will identify the shortcomings in the BARC’s rating system and suggest changes, or recommends for a Government-led Rating Agency instead of a private agency. In case it gives suggestions for improvement in the existing system, BARC is required to mend itself accordingly. If the committee feels that there should be competition and allows other agencies also to enter, There is every possibility of TAM’s reentry, says an industry expert.