Trai Issues Showcause Notice to BARC India for Not Publishing TV Viewership Data

Last month, Trai had asked BARC India to publish the viewership data and also hinted about about the action that will be taken if not published

Highlights
  • Trai seeks why it should not take action against BARC India
  • BARC India should respond to the showcause notice by April 5

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued a showcause notice to BARC India for not publishing the TV Viewership data even after the intimation given last month. BARC India which is also known as Broadcast Audience Research Council India last month stated that it’s not ready to provide the viewership data during the sector’s migration to the new tariff regime. Furthermore, Trai has asked BARC India to explain why action should not be taken against it for contravention of sections of the Trai Act by April 5. This news is reported by Press Trust of India.

When reached out to comments, a BARC India spokesperson said that it had temporarily suspended making a public limited set of data given the “significant volatility in data” due to “distribution disruptions” in the NTO (new tariff order) transition period.

It said making public such “misleading” data would be against public interest and could be open to “misuse by vested interests.” The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in its showcause notice dated March 29 noted that BARC India did not comply with its past direction given on February 22, 2019, seeking the immediate release of viewership data (for the week ending February 8 and subsequent weeks) on its website.

BARC India has been granted registration by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to carry out TV rating services. The source said that following the directive, BARC India had approached the regulator seeking additional time for response.

The stand-off between Trai and BARC India over viewership data has been brewing for the last few months now. Trai’s past directive had said that BARC India modified its Fair and Permissible Usage Policy on February 14, 2019, despite being repeatedly asked by the regulator to not stop the publishing of rating data and viewership data on its website during the migration to new regulatory framework unless explicitly permitted by the authority.

Trai had rued that BARC India did not comply with its past instructions despite being repeatedly asked by the authority to publish rating and data of the viewership of different TV channels. BARC, on the other hand, had argued that disruption caused by the transition to the new regime could prevent consumers from accessing the channels of their choice, thus not giving a fair and true picture of TV consumption in India.

But Trai has maintained it would not be appropriate to stop rating of channels as these changes were an outcome of consumer choice and a real reflection of market dynamics.

Trai reminded BARC India that it is governed by the provisions of the Trai Act and thus required to comply with orders, regulations, and directions issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and regulator from time to time.

Trai has recently unveiled the new tariff order and regulatory regime for the broadcast and cable sector, which paves the way for consumers to opt for channels they wish to view and pay only for them. It has said every channel should be offered a la carte, with a transparent display of rates on electronic programme guide.

A BARC India spokesperson, in an emailed comment to PTI, said: “… the fact that data in this period does not truly reflect viewers’ choice, BARC India Technical Committee and Board decided to temporarily suspend placing a limited set of data on our website”.

“Putting such misleading data on the website would be against public interest and could be misused by vested interests. BARC is constantly monitoring the ground situation on this. We have made detailed submissions to Trai and MIB, backed by data, on several occasions.”

It said there has been no stoppage of data to its subscribers. “Every week, our clients have been receiving weekly data without any disruption,” the BARC India spokesperson added.

Read more on:

Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.

Leave a Reply

avatar
Photo and Image Files
 
 
 

Recent Posts

Hathway Life Set Hai Offer Bundles Unlimited Data With 50 Mbps Broadband Plan at Rs 349

As Reliance Jio has sounded the trumpet for the launch of its Reliance Jio GigaFiber service in India, which is...

Bharti Infratel Posts Consolidated Net Profit of Rs 608 Crore During FY19

Mobile tower company Bharti Infratel on Wednesday posted a consolidated net profit of Rs 608 crore in the last quarter...

Cable TV Market Share Dominated By Top 15 MSOs, Only 22% Share Occupied by Rest 1,100 Players: Trai

In its new white paper released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), the regulator noted that around 15...