In a strict warning to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), India’s premier TV audience data measurer, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has given an ultimatum to publish rating and viewership data on its website during the sector’s migration to the new tariff regime. The broadcasting regulator’s order comes with further warning of ‘appropriate action’ under various sections of Trai Act if fails to furnish compliance by Feb 25, 2019, said a source.
“...BARC India has modified its Fair and Permissible Usage Policy in February 14, 2019, even after being repeatedly asked by the authority to not stop publishing of rating data and viewership data on its website during the migration to new regulatory framework until and unless explicitly permitted by the authority and are thus, in contravention of the direction of the authority dated December 21, 2018 and January 14, 2019,” said the TRAI directive.
Trai rued that BARC India did not comply with its previous instructions despite being repeatedly asked by the authority to publish rating and data of the viewership of different TV channels. The regulator observed that BARC had submitted that disruption caused by transition to the new regime could prevent consumers from accessing the channels of their choice, thus not giving fair and true picture of TV consumption in India.
But TRAI said it would not be appropriate to stop rating of channels as these changes were an outcome of consumer choice and real reflection of market changes. The regulator opined that the decision of BARC India to “withhold” the data cannot be justified by any yardstick.
The regulator noted that BARC India has “failed to furnish any cogent reason for not publishing the rating and viewership data” and that “such action on part of BARC India reflects poorly on the creditworthiness of the data published by them“.
The regulator also reminded BARC India that it is governed by the provisions of the TRAI Act and thus required to comply with orders, regulations, and directions issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and TRAI from time to time.