The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 11 September 2013 released Guideline for Television Rating Agencies. Guidelines would cover registration of the rating agencies and their eligibility norms, cross-holding, methodology, complaint redressal, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and penal provisions.
The salient features of the recommendations are
• The Authority supports self-regulation of television ratings through an industry-led body like Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).
• To ensure that the shortcomings of the present system are addressed guidelines have been recommended.
• Any agency meeting the eligibility conditions can apply and get registered with MIB for doing the rating work.
• MIB to notify the guidelines for regulating the television rating agencies based on TRAI’s recommendations, within two months.
• All rating agencies are required to comply with the guidelines.
• Guidelines to cover registration, eligibility norms, cross-holding, methodology, complaint redressal, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and penal provisions.
• The number of panel homes for collecting television viewership data will be a minimum of 20000 to be set up within 6 months of the guidelines coming into force. Thereafter, the number of panel homes shall be increased by 10000 every year until Panel Size reaches 50000.
• The panel homes to be selected from a pool of households, selected through an establishment survey which shall be at least 10 times the number of panel homes for audience measurement.
• Voluntary code of conduct by the industry for maintaining secrecy and privacy of the panel homes.
• Restrictions on substantial equity holding of 10% or more between rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/ advertising agencies.
• The rating agency to set up an effective complaint redressal system.
• Data/reports generated by the rating agency to be made available, on paid basis, to all interested stakeholders in a transparent and equitable manner.
• The rating agency to get its entire methodology/processes audited internally on quarterly basis and through an independent auditor annually. All audit reports to be put on the website of the rating agency.
• Penal provisions for non-compliance of guidelines including financial penalty from 10 lakh rupees to 1 crore rupees and cancellation of registration.
• Six months time given to the existing rating agency to comply with the guidelines.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) had requested TRAI to provide its recommendations on issues related to guidelines/accreditation mechanism for accreditation of TRP rating agencies in India, under Section 11(1) (a) of TRAI Act, 1997.
TRAI issued a Consultation Paper on Guidelines/Accreditation Mechanism for Television Rating Agencies in India on 17 April 2013, seeking comments/views of the stakeholders. Open House Discussions were also held on 1 July 2013. Based on comments received in the consultation process and its own analysis, the Authority finalized its recommendations.
About Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was established by an act of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act 1997.The body which is created by an act of parliament of is called as statutory body. It regulates telecom services including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services