New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on Wednesday asked television monitoring agency Broadcast Audience Research Council ( BARC) to release the ratings of news channels with immediate effect, along with data for the genre for the past three months, for fair and equitable representation of true trends.

As per the revised system, the reporting of news and niche genres will now be on a ‘four week rolling average concept’.

TRP ratings were withheld since October 2020 after Mumbai Police’s case against many TV channels for manipulating the ratings. BARC CEO Partho  Dasgupta was arrested by Mumbai Police for allegations of accepting money for hyping the TRP ratings.

“In the spirit of the TRP Committee Report and recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), BARC has undertaken revision in its processes, protocols, oversight mechanism and initiated changes in governance structure”, the ministry said in a statement.

“The reconstitution of the Board and the Technical Committee to allow for the induction of Independent Members has also been initiated by BARC. A permanent Oversight Committee has also been formed. The access protocols for data have been revamped and tightened.

“According to the revised system, the reporting of News and Niche Genres shall be on a 'four week rolling average concept', the ministry said in a statement. The ministry has also set up a 'working group' under the chairmanship of Prasar Bharti CEO for consideration of leveraging the Return Path Data (RPD) capabilities for the use of TRP services, as also recommended by TRAI and the TRP Committee Report. The committee shall submit its report in four months' time, the ministry said.

BARC has indicated that in view of the changes undertaken by it, they are reaching out to related constituencies to explain the new proposals and are in readiness to actually commence the release according to the new protocols.

In an official order, the ministry said the Joint Working Group will study different aspects of the data capturing including RPD in context of the audience measurement, international practices, security of the viewership data etc.

"The Group may study successful global best practices in RPD, like that of Canada, the models/ pilots undertaken in lndia by BARC and other independent experiments by DTH operators and other relevant stakeholders and formulate a mandate for combining the data sources including RPD, if so decided with the existing sampling methodology(ies)," it said.

The Joint Working Group shall have Prasar Bharati CEO S S Vempati as the chairperson, and five members - one each from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Bureau of Indian Standards, BARC, All India Digital Cable Federation and Harit Nagpal, president of the DTH Association.

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