MIB has advised BARC to take cognisance of TRAI’s landing page direction: Rathore

MUMBAI: Even as the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) landing page direction is sub-judice, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has advised Broadcasters Audience Research Council (BARC) India to take cognisance of the direction.

The ministry had also advised BARC India to comply with the terms and conditions of the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India.

This information was provided by the minister of state (MoS) in the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in the Lok Sabha in response to a question on tampering of TV viewership data.

“Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has, on 13.02.2018, advised BARC to comply with the terms and conditions prescribed in the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India and to take cognizance of TRAI’s directions dated 08.11.2017,” Rathore said.

He further stated that a reference has been received regarding efforts by unauthorised persons to tamper with TV viewership.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had issued a direction dated 8 November 2017 wherein all the broadcasters and distributors of television channels have been directed to restrain from placing any registered satellite television channel, whose TV rating is released by TV rating agency, on the landing Logical Channel Number (LCN) or landing channel or boot up screen.

The direction has been challenged by Bennet Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), All India Digital Cable Federation, DEN Networks, Fastway Transmission and Satellite Channels in the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which has restrained the regulator from enforcing it till further orders.

The tribunal had recently reserved the judgement in landing page matter on the preliminary issue of transparency.

The petitioners have challenged the TRAI direction on two grounds. The first ground is that the TRAI didn’t have the jurisdiction to issue a direction while the second ground is that the authority didn’t follow the principle of transparency while issuing the direction.

BARC India, on its part, has maintained that the viewership of channels is measured based on watermark ID and the viewership of channels having the same watermark on more than one LCN gets aggregated and reported as a single channel and not multiple channels.

BARC India is the only organisation to have been granted registration for operating as Television Rating Agency under the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India.

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