BARC to consider TRAI’s advice on public sharing of ratings data after consulting its stakeholders

MUMBAI: The Broadcasters Audience Research Council (BARC) India has said it will consider the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) advice of sharing the data of top channels and programmes on their website after consulting with its stakeholders.

Last week, the TRAI had directed BARC India to immediately release the viewership data for the past weeks on its website. The regulator had also warned the council of appropriate action for non-compliance.

BARC India had decided to stop sharing TV viewership data publicly on their website in the light of implementation of TRAI’s new regulatory framework.

Commenting on the TRAI directive, a BARC India spokesperson said, “TRAI has advised us that we should also consider resuming the display of top channels and programs data on our website. We are taking a considered view on that post consultation with our stakeholders.”

BARC India clarified that it has not stopped publishing its viewership data. “Every week, at 11 am sharp, all our subscribers have been getting all India weekly data without a hitch for the last 175 weeks, including the last 2 weeks that correspond to the NTO transition,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said BARC has published data of last 2 weeks with the caveat that there are changes taking place on ground due to NTO roll-out due to which viewership numbers will be volatile during the transition period. “The India Society of Advertisers (ISA) too has advised its members that our data should not be used for media planning and buying in the transition period,” he stated.

Explaining the reason behind not sharing the data on their website, the spokesperson stated, “We also publish a limited amount of data on our website – intended only for larger benefit and information of trade and media. We temporarily held back release of this select headline data on our website. We did this purely to avoid mis-representation of such data (Top 5 channels/programs etc) without looking at the larger context of New Tariff Order (NTO) roll-out and resulting volatility which could be misleading, lead to confusion and be counter-productive.