Guidelines to monitor TV audience measurement

Guidelines to monitor TV  audience measurement

The Centre on Thursday approved a set of guidelines to bring television audience measurement agencies under a regulatory framework to make them “transparent, credible and accountable”.

The guidelines require a TV rating agency to first get registered with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to become operational. They would now be subjected to third party audit while the government would have powers to carry out inspection of the company and audit its procedures and mechanisms of viewership measurement, according to guidelines approved by the Union cabinet.

For audience measurement, the rating agency would require to draw panel homes from a pool of households selected through an “establishment survey”. They would have to ensure a minimum panel home size of 20,000 within six months of the guidelines coming into force. This should further be increased by 10,000 every year until the figure for panel homes reaches 50,000.

“The guidelines would come into effect immediately after notification,” I&B Minister Manish Tewari told reporters.

The move comes following complaints from TV channels on an alleged opaque methodology employed by the rating agencies. Some television channels accused the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) of indulging in unfair trade practices and making viewership projections through a flawed methodology. “The guidelines are designed to address aberrations in the existing television rating system. These guidelines are aimed at making television ratings transparent, credible and accountable,” Tewari said. The rating agencies would now have to maintain secrecy and privacy of the panel homes and rotate 25 per cent of the panel homes every year.

The ratings now need to be “technology neutral” and it must capture data across multiple viewing platforms including cable TV, Direct-to- Home and Terrestrial TV, the guidelines stipulate. 

“No company either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings will be allowed to have substantial equity holding,” said the guidelines .

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