The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) has paused the measurement of television viewership ratings of news channels for a period of twelve weeks. Welcoming the decision, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) said it was a bold move. According to the decision, BARC will not publish the weekly individual ratings for all news channels during the period. This would include all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News channels with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has welcomed the decision of the BARC to suspend the measurement of television viewership ratings of news channels for a period of twelve weeks.
Hailing the decision by the BARC, NBA President Rajat Sharma today said, “The current atmosphere of toxicity, abuse and fake news is no longer tenable and NBA as the custodian and guardian of Indian broadcast media believes a bold step of putting ratings of news genre on hold will help in improving the content."
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the step taken by BARC
1. Why has BARC India taken the step of not reporting news channels?
In the light of the recent developments, BARC Board has proposed that it’s Technical Committee (Tech Comm) review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes. This exercise would cover all Hindi, Regional, English news and Business news channels with immediate effect. Therefore, starting with the ‘News Genre’, BARC will cease publishing the weekly individual ratings for news channels during the exercise. This exercise is expected to take around 8-12 weeks including validation and testing under the supervision of BARCs Tech Comm. BARC will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language.
2. Which genres will be affected by this change?
The decision will initially impact all Hindi, Regional, English news and Business news broadcasters. BARC will continue to provide estimates for the overall news genre every week by State and Language.
3. For how long will the data not be available for news channels?
BARC Tech Committee will revisit the rule sets of niche genres to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes. Starting with news genre, BARC would stop declaring the individual channel ratings for news channels while this reworking of the rule sets is being done. This exercise would take around 8-12 weeks including validation and testing under the supervision of the Tech Committee. BARC will keep its stakeholders updated as we augment these processes.
4. Which data and analysis will not be possible or will not be available because of the withholding of ratings?
The withholding of ratings will, inter -alia, will lead to non – availability of the following viewership variables for impacted channels:
- Daily reach
- Average Time Spent (ATS)
- Cumulative reach
- Rating %
Since these variables will not be available, analysis such as viewer movement and Behavioural Track Analysis will not be possible. However, the above details will be available at a genre level.
5. Will BARC be collecting and processing data for impacted channels during this period? Will the individual channel data be released post this period?
BARC will continue to collect and process data for the impacted channels. BARC Technical Committee will advise a protocol for the release of individual channel data, post its work on niche channels.
6. Will playout data be collected during this period for the impacted channels?
Yes, playout data will be collected for the impacted channels during this period.
7. Will Spot Trek service be impacted due to this withholding of ratings?
BARC will continue to confirm spot – related data to its Spot Trek subscribers. There will be no impact on Spot Trek service.
8. Are the numbers released by BARC inclusive of the impacted news channels?
The data for News channels will still be included in the audience estimates for aggregate such as Total TV. It is only the audience estimates for the individual channels that will be masked.
9. What data will be reported for the impacted news channels?
BARC will continue to release audience estimates for the overall news genre every week by State and Language. However, channel-wise data will not be released.
10. I am not a news channel. Why has my data been withheld?
Individual News Channels audience estimates will not be reported. The genre classification is determined by “Policy for Genre Classification of TV Channels” as last updated in September 2019 and as updated on the BARC website. This classification is updated on a quarterly basis. As per the BARC Policy on Genre Classification, a TV channel is classified as a news channel, when more than 60% of the TV Channel content for a given week averaged across a calendar quarter from 6:00 Hrs. – 26:00 Hrs. consists of News and news-related content.
11. Are genres other than news genres also impacted?
BARC Technical Committee (Tech Comm) will review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes
The FAQs are some of the questions that we think will frequently get asked in some (but not all) of the areas with respect to a press release, dated 15th Oct 2020 – ‘BARC to pause audience estimates for news genre’. The questions and answers are not intended to be exhaustive, are in the nature of general information and do not constitute professional advice for your particular question, issue or concern. The information, however, is intended to be helpful to address common questions on the topic mentioned.
BARC has made every attempt to ensure accuracy and reliability of the information contained in this document however the information is “as is” basis and without warranty of any kind. BARC does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality or reliability of the information contained in this document. Be aware that it is possible there may have been subsequent changes, which make the information outdated at the time you are accessing it.