In a statement released on Wednesday, the Broadcast Audience Research Council announced that it would not be publishing daily TRP ratings for news channels for the next couple of months. This includes all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News channels with immediate effect.
"BARC Board has proposed that it's Technical Committee (Tech Comm) review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes...BARC will continue to release weekly audience estimates for the genre of news by state and language," the official statement reads.
The move to overhaul measurement practises comes in the wake of TRP fraud case in which they accused major news channels like India Today of using personal data of viewers to influence TRP ratings. A former Hansa Research Group employee was arrested from UP on the 13th in connection with the case, and several prominent members of Republic TV were Mumbai Police questioned.
BARC CEO Sunil Lulla said that the organisation was committed to honesty in reporting "What India Watches".
"Besides augmenting current protocols and benchmarking them with global standards, BARC is actively exploring several options to discourage unlawful inducement of its panel home viewers and further strengthening its Code of Conduct to Address Viewership Malpractice," he said.
Punit Goenka, chairman of BARC India said that the pause was necessary to enable the media and BARC to work together to review and strengthen existing protocols.
"[This will] enable the industry to focus on collaborating for growth and well-natured competitiveness," his statement reads.
(Reported by Anjana Nair)