22 Nov 2017
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Uncertainty prevails over release of BARC data

MUMBAI: Just a day before the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is supposed to release the TV viewership data for its second week, uncertainty seems to have turned things murky for the joint industry body.

Till the time of filing this report, it was not clear whether or not BARC will issue the ratings this Wednesday.

As reported earlier by TelevisionPost.com, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has asked BARC to refrain from releasing the data till it gets registered with the ministry, as per the guidelines for the TV ratings agencies approved by the government in January last year.

ZEEL MD & CEO Punit GoenkaWhen asked about the issue, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) MD and CEO and BARC chairperson Punit Goenka said that while one has to wait and watch for the update, BARC will not do anything that is against the guidelines set by the ministry. “BARC is formed as a joint industry body on the basis of the Amit Mitra Committee and the guidelines set by the government for the TV ratings agencies. BARC will adhere to the guidelines and will never go against them.”

Regarding the registration issue, Goenka said: “BARC had applied for registration in November last year. But, one has to wait and watch on the release of the viewership data.”

It is learnt that BARC is taking legal advice and a meeting has been scheduled at night to take a final call on the matter.

Shashi Sinha“The final decision will be taken by BARC board meeting at night,” IPG Mediabrands India CEO and BARC technical committee chairperson Shashi Sinha told TelevisionPost.com.

Caught between the guidelines and the MIB, the stakeholders have already invested over Rs 280 crore (Rs 2.80 billion). BARC has put in Rs 180 crore (Rs 1.80 billion) for the mechanism, while broadcasters have spent over Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) for audio watermarking the channel feeds.

Incidentally,  TAM Media Research will continue to release its data. TAM said in a statement, “For TAM Media Research, weekly TV viewership data release to the industry will continue as normal. Pursuant to the interim order issued by the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi on 12 February, 2014, 1.7(a), 1.7(d), 16.1 & 16.2 of impugned guidelines have been stayed till the disposal of the Writ Petition 494/2014 (Kantar Matter).”

While the confusion continues, some broadcasters have received information from BARC officials that the data is expected to arrive by afternoon. However, a broadcaster, preferring anonymity, said that the situation might change as the final decision will be based on the outcome of the meeting.

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