Context: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has constituted Shashi S. Vempati committee to review Guidelines on Television Rating Agencies in India notified by the Ministry in 2014.

More on the news: 

  • The present guidelines issued by the MIB on Television Rating Agencies in India were notified after detailed deliberations by the Parliamentary Committee, Committee on Television Rating Points (TRP) constituted by the MIB and recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) etc.

Need to review the guidelines:

  • Technological advancements or interventions to address the system.
  • Further strengthening of the procedures for a credible and transparent rating system.
  • To study different aspects of the television rating system in India as they have evolved over a period of time.  

The Terms of Reference for the Committee:

  • Study past and present recommendations made by various forums (like TRAI) on the subject of television rating systems in India.
  • Suggest steps for enhancing competition in the sector.
  • To make recommendations on a way forward for a robust, transparent and accountable rating system in India.

About TRP:

  • A metric used in marketing and advertising: To indicate the percentage of the target audience reached by a campaign or advertisement through a communication medium. 
  • In the particular case of television: A device is attached to the TV set in a few thousand viewers' houses to measure impressions. 
    • Anyone who watches television for more than a minute is considered a viewer.
  • Significance: 
    • It represents how many people, from which socio-economic categories, watched which channels for how much time during a particular period. 
    • This period is one minute as per the international standards.
  • Limitations of TRP:
    • Tampering devices used for assessing viewership: by bribing viewers or cable operators or tampering with the selection of devices.
    • Very small sample size: Hence, manipulation becomes easier as even manipulating a few homes will change the TRP.
    • Absence of any specific law: That can penalize the suspects involved in panel tampering.
    • Over dependence of advertising: About 70% of the revenue for television channels comes from advertising (only 30% from the subscription), leading to broadcasting content which suits the advertisers.
  • Recent controversy: The Mumbai Police has claimed about a scam about the manipulation of TRPs (Target Rating Points) by some TV channels by rigging the devices used by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.
  • Way ahead:
    • Increasing the sample size for more accurate results.
    • Developing a legal framework for the regulation of TRP.
    • The subscription rates should be raised so that TV channels are not forced to serve the lowest common denominator.

Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC):

  • A company created in 2010 and jointly owned by advertisers, ad agencies, and broadcasting companies, represented by the Indian Society of Advertisers, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Advertising Agencies Association of India.
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting notified the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India in 2014, and registered BARC in 2015 under these guidelines, to carry out television ratings in India.
Source: Dailyhunt