BARC resumes news channel ratings after 17 months

TV viewer BARC said on Monday it will resume providing data to news channels from mid-March, more than 17 months after the suspension. In a statement, BARC said the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a directive to resume data releases for individual news channels.

“BARC India is currently working to ensure the seamless release of individual news channel data and plans to begin release as of our reporting week 10, 2022. According to our reporting cycle, this data will be released to the market on Thursday, March 17, 2022 the statement said.

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) had “temporarily suspended” ratings for the news genre in October 2020 after a “cash for ratings” scam allegedly involved Republic TV top executives.

The audience estimates provided by BARC influence ad spend. The total size of the ad placements was set at Rs 32,000 crore annually by the Mumbai Police who had arrested a slew of people in connection with the case. Police alleged that the ratings were manipulated by enticing the homes where the monitors were placed.

The data will be released according to the Augmented Data Reporting Standards for News and Special Interest genres, BARC said, adding that customers and stakeholders have been communicated about it.

The Augmented Standards include the reporting of audience estimates for news and Special Interest genre channels on a four-week moving average, which would be released regularly each week along with the estimates for all other channels. All viewership data will be published on the same YUMI platform that all of its subscribers use, the statement said.

“…we believe we have a statistically sound and effective solution that helps increase data robustness and reporting, which is what we wanted to do,” it added.

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