Parliamentary panel expresses displeasure over present way of measuring TRPs

Hindu Businessline, December 2, 2021

A parliamentary panel on Wednesday, saying it put a “big question mark” on the objectivity, accuracy and transparency of the system.

In its 27th report on ‘Ethical Standards in Media Coverage’, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology urged the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) to identify a solution for a more transparent and accountable system for measuring television rating points (TRPs).

“The committee is not satisfied with the present system of measuring TRP and would like to draw the attention of the Ministry to the recent 52 reported episodes of manipulation of TRPs by some TV channels rigging the devices used by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC),” it said.

“This has put a big question mark on the objectivity, accuracy, efficacy and transparency of the current system and clearly indicates how ratings can be manipulated by some channels in connivance with the BARC officials,” the panel headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.

The report said that while taking a serious view of this, the committee urged the MIB to look into the entire process of the TRP system and identify a solution for a more transparent and accountable system for measuring TRPs.

The committee also said it found that the present TRP system “is heavily biased towards urban areas” and that there is a need to change the system of measurement by giving equal weightage to rural and semi-urban areas by increasing the sample size.

“The committee also desires that the ministry should study global practices adopted in the TRP system including the possibility of finding a solution to the privacy issues in the STBs through appropriate technical measures such as the use of scramblers to ensure accuracy, confidentiality and transparency within the TRP system,” it said.

“The committee desires that the report of the BARC inquiry committee, commissioned by the government, must be placed before it for examination,” the report said. BARC was granted registration as a Television Rating Agency by the MIB for 10 years under the Policy Guidelines on July 28, 2015.

BARC is a self-regulated, not-for-profit body created by the – Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the Indian Society for Advertisers (ISA) and the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).

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