New Delhi: The Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) on Thursday suspended television viewership ratings on three news channels for allegedly trying to influence households monitored by Barc to increase their own ratings, a person close to the matter said.
Ratings of Telugu news channels TV9 and V6 News and Hindi broadcaster India News have been suspended for a month, the person said on condition of anonymity.
“We found that these channels had tampered with some metered homes and tried to influence the families to watch their channels by paying them,” said the person. For any such tampering in the future, Barc is likely to extend the suspension to three months.
Last year, Barc replaced TAM Media Research Pte Ltd as the agency monitoring the viewership habits of Indian households.
A Barc spokesperson declined to comment on the issue.
“We are shocked to hear this,” said Varun Kohli, chief executive of India News. “We are trying to talk to all the stakeholders, including Barc, to resolve the matter and address any misgivings. We are confident that the matter will be sorted out soon. We are a credible network in the broadcasting business for the last eight years and we have shown consistent growth for the last five years in TAM & Barc ratings. We believe in the transparency of the system and intend getting into the bottom of the matter.”
TV9 did not respond to a query from Mint.
Ankam Ravi, chief executive, V6 News, said in a text message: “We are very shocked at this. I’m sure there has been a mistake and we are talking with Barc management. V6, known for its uniqueness in responsible journalism, is very strong and popular among the masses and we, the management would never depend on such unnecessary manipulation.”