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NBA wants BARC not to release Republic TV viewership data

MUMBAI: Arnab Goswami is creating a storm. After the launch of Republic TV, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has swung into action twice.

First, the apex body of private news broadcasters complained to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) against Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV for taking dual slots on cable TV networks to boost its viewership.

Republic TVNow, just ahead of the weekly release of ratings data, the NBA has urged the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India not to release Republic TV’s viewership data until the channel stopped using multiple LCNs (logical channel number).

The NBA has in its letter to BARC said that the release of Republic TV’s viewership data under such circumstances would amount to “aiding and abetting such malpractices” which could have serious consequences on the news broadcasting industry in India.

BARC is set to release the weekly ratings data today. This will be Republic TV’s first viewership data since its launch on 6 May.

It must be noted here that dual frequency is not a new tactic employed by TV channels. Many news channels have tried it at some point to drive ratings.

Earlier, BARC India had clarified that, if a channel was available on multiple slots or feeds on a particular platform, its Bar-o-Meters would read all of them as one channel and would report its ratings as a single channel as long as all/multiple feeds carry the same unique watermark.

As reported earlier, the NBA has urged TRAI to take action against what it calls an unethical distribution practice. This is for the first time that the NBA has registered a complaint of this nature against a news channel.

The NBA letter dated 12 May alleges that Republic TV is available multiple times on several distribution platforms under different genres. This, it claims, is in violation of TRAI interconnection regulations.

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