New Delhi: Broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, or Trai, made sweeping recommendations on the contentious issue of television audience measurement in India.
While maintaining that there was no room for direct government intervention to measure television viewership and self-regulation by the industry was the best course of action at this stage, it recommended inclusion of two nominees of the ministry of information and broadcasting in the board of the agency that will oversee the measurement.
It also added the technical committee of the agency should have nominees from the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, National Council of Applied Economic Research and the Indian Statistical Institute.
Trai also recognized the recently constituted Broadcast Audience Research Council, or Barc, as the institutional agency that will oversee the audience measurement business in the country.
Barc was constituted in September by three independent industry associations—Indian Society of Advertisers, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Advertising Agencies Association of India.
Trai has also said that Barc must start functioning by January, something the agency might find a little difficult in the wake of the departure of its chairman Pradeep Guha, who had to relinquish the post after he resigned from Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, where he was the chief executive officer.
Trai said while Barc could oversee the measurement business, actual fieldwork and analysis will have to be carried out by research firms specializing in audience measurement.
It said the agency must cover all broadcasting platforms, such as cable, direct to home and IPTV and have representation from rural and urban areas across all states.
In what could cause a serious distress to the incumbent market leader in audience measurement, TAM Media Research, Trai has recommended that no broadcaster, advertiser or advertising agency should have any stake in the measurement agency.
TAM is a joint venture between market research firms AC Nielsen and Kantar Media Research/IMRB. Kantar Media is part of the WPP Group Plc.
TAM’s CEO L.V. Krishnan declined to comment. Rival firm Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd’s CEO Amit Varma said the guidelines might make way for indirect intervention by the government.
Chintamani Rao, CEO, Times Global Broadcasting Co. Ltd and a Barc board member, however, welcomed Trai’s move.
“We are glad that Trai has accorded recognition to Barc,” Rao said.