BARC Pauses Weekly Ratings for News Channels: What Does This Mean?

The Quint
·2-min read

The Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) on Thursday, 15 October, announced that it has placed a temporary suspension on publishing weekly individual ratings for news channels.

This comes after the Mumbai Police filed a complaint against three channels, namely Fakt Marathi, Box Cinema, and Republic TV, for manipulating television rating points (TRPs).

What does the BARC announcement mean? For how long will the ratings not be available? Here's what we know.

Ratings of which genres of TV channels will not be measured temporarily?

This decision will impact only news channels. All English, Hindi, regional news channels, including business news channels, will not receive individual ratings.

However, BARC will continue to release weekly audience estimate for the genre of news, by states and language.

How does BARC define news channels?

As per the BARC Policy on Genre Classification, a TV channel is classified as a news channel, when more than 60 percent of the content for a given week consists of news content.

Also Read: TRP Scam: SC Refuses to Hear Republic’s Plea Against Mumbai Police

Why has BARC taken this step? What is the body planning to do?

BARC has proposed that its technical committee will review the current standards of measuring and reporting data of niche genres – ie the news genre.

It will aim to improve "statistical robustness" and hamper any potential attempt to "infiltrate" the ratings.

As pointed earlier, this comes amid the allegations of 'TRP Scam'.

“Given the most recent developments, the BARC Board was of the opinion that a pause was necessitated to enable the industry and BARC to work closely to review its already stringent protocols and further augment them to enable the industry to focus on collaborating for growth and well-natured competitiveness,” Punit Goenka, chairman, BARC India Board, said.

For how long is this pause expected to be in place?

The technical committee is expected to work on this for 8-12 weeks – including testing and validation of reworked rule sets.

Also Read: Why the Roots of the TRP ‘Scam’ Go Deeper & Wider Than We Know

Which data and analysis will not be available?

For news channels, the following data will not be avaialble:

  • Impressions

  • Daily reach

  • Average Time Spent (ATS)

  • Cumulative reach

  • Rating %

Does this mean channels won’t be able to access TRPs?

Yes, the news channels will not be able to access individual ratings.

Will BARC still continue to collect data during this period?

Yes, BARC will continue to collect and process data for the impacted channels.

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