English news channels in India have decided to pull out of BARC that collects TRPs for TV channels. The decision has reportedly been taken in protest against BARC’s refusal to delay the release of TRP data, that showed Arnab Goswami’s Republic had emerged as the number 1 English channel in week 19.
NBA Secretary General Annie Joseph wrote to BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta, “We refer to our letters dated May 15, 2017 and May 17, 2017 about multiple LCNs being used by REPUBLIC TV Channel licensed under the news and current affairs genre launched on 6.5.2017. We find that despite our two letters, you have gone ahead and released the inflated and corrupt data for REPUBLIC TV as of this morning. This has serious implications and has caused irreversible damage to India’s existing English news TV Channels,”
She added, “As you can see from the data you have put out, there is no logic or rationale for REPUBLIC TV to have the kind of shares and reach across all key markets. On a pan India basis, discrepancies have been noticed across markets which completely distort the statistics for a very important and influential news genre. Given your indifference to the serious situation at hand, we are left with no option but to advice some of our aggrieved members to opt out of the BARC’s watermarking system with immediate effect until there is appropriate redressal of our grievance. We hope good sense prevails and urgent corrective action is taken by BARC.”
A statement by NDTV said, “NDTV has consistently maintained that there is something terribly wrong with the way television ratings are measured, yet for lack of an alternative have been part of the current system. Unfortunately these flaws and malpractices have seen a spike recently. Consequently, today, we along with other major English news channels have decided to exit the current BARC ratings system till this issue is addressed. We hope this will be resolved soon.”
India Today too released a statement announcing its decision to exit BARC audience measurement system.
It said, “We hope credible data will return soon. Though the data stops, the Gold Standard of Journalism continues.”
The data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council– BARC- on Thursday showed that Republic TV had clocked nearly twice the number of viewers than its nearest rival, Times Now.
Earlier this week, the NBA had taken strong exception to Republic TV resorting to unethical distribution tactics to secure higher viewership numbers.
The NBA had written to the government watchdog, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, alleging that Goswami’s channel was running multiple feeds on various multi system operators’ platforms.
Never in the past has the NBA singled out a channel for alleged trade-related malpractices.