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Survey at least 5 lakh homes to rate viewership, stop rigging: Panel | India News

NEW DELHI: Amid the raging controversy over the alleged manipulation of TV viewership figures, a four-member government-appointed committee to strengthen the TRP ratings system has said at least 5-lakh homes should be sampled against the existing 50,000 to ascertain viewership data and to ensure the ratings system is not manipulated.
The recommendations, submitted to the government last week, also emphasise the need to increase the footprints of the sample survey to cover more rural parts as well as increase coverage in hitherto untapped regions.
“A state like Jammu & Kashmir, and some regions of the northeast, for instance, did not have any barometres to measure TRPs. With the sampling being largely city-centric, the current ratings mechanism does not give a true picture of viewership habits in India. This needs to change,” a top ministry source said.
The official also said the government is likely to look at technological solutions to universalise samples and also take into account ‘TV on mobile’, the new platform through which a large number of viewers are now accessing content.
The committee headed by Prasar Bharati chief executive Shashi Shekhar Vempati was appointed by the government to review the ‘Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India’ in November last year.
Union I&B minister Prakash Javadekar, while receiving the report, had said the ministry will study its recommendations and may send some guidelines and directions to the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on the ratings system.
BARC had imposed a three-month pause on rating individual news channels in October last year after a “TRP scam” was unearthed by Mumbai police. It had said it would utilise the time to augment current standards of measuring and reporting data. However, it has not resumed issuing fresh ratings following the expiry of the three-month period on January 15. When contacted, a BARC spokesperson said, “The review with the tech committee is ongoing and we will intimate our stakeholders and media at the appropriate time.”

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