The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Tuesday said that structural reforms were required in the structure of Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) for added transparency in the TRP measurement system. Trai also said that the rating agency should be mandated to increase the sample size to 60,000 by the end of 2020 from its existing size of 44,000. Further, as part of its recommendations on “Review of Television Audience Measurement and Rating System” Trai said that the sample size should be expanded to 1,00,000 by the end of 2022.
Trai Recommends Structural Reforms in the Structure of BARC
Trai said that the structural reforms in the structure of BARC are required to reduce the probability of “conflict of interest, and bring transparency and instill confidence of all the stakeholders in the TRP measurement system.”
The authority recommended that the BARC board should consist of 50% independent members including one technology expert and one statistician of national repute from among the top institutions. Additionally, Trai said that the board should also include two representatives from the government or the regulator.
TRAI said that an Oversight Committee should be established to guide BARC India in the areas of research, design and analysis for consistently improving the rating system.
Multiple Data Collection Agencies and Increase in Sample Size
The authority also said that the multiple data collection agencies need to be encouraged for the credible and accurate collection of data.
Trai also said that BARC should conduct its own study with the Indian Statistical Institute or other reputed institute to estimate appropriate sample size for proper representation of viewership.
“Sample size once increased; it will make the data tampering an arduous exercise,” Trai said in its recommendations. “On the basis of the study conducted, BARC should reach the target of reaching the sample size in a time-bound manner.”
Crucially, Trai said that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) should amend Direct to Home (DTH) license and Multiple-system operator (MSO) registration to mandate set-top box capable of transferring viewership data.
"This transfer of data can be done by establishing a return path/connection from STB to the remote servers of the Audience Measurement agency,” TRAI said.
The authority also recommended that the BARC should get an annual audit conducted by an independent agency “to ensure conformance with TRP rating methodology, sample size, and grievance redressal methodology.” The audit report was also recommended to be published on the BARC site within three months after the end of an financial year.