TRAI exposes Republic TV’s skewed Barc viewership ratings,Ratings plummet after one month

Sumana Nandy, Journalist at Arnab Goswami's Republic Tv resigns after differences in handling Gauri Lankesh's murder news

New Delhi, June14: After resigning from Times Now ,Arnab Goswami started Republic TV with backing from an enterpreneur.Within a month of its launch, the channel viewership ratings overwhelmed to 52 per cent viewership. The channel boasted and claimed that it had better viewership than all other english channels.

After complaints to TRAI about  skewed Barc ratings ,TRAI exposed the technique by which Republic TV, had circumvented the rating system and claimed immense viewship. After TRAI sctuting it was found that the skewed system was removed and the viewership  of Republic TV plummeted to 10 lakh viewers after a month of its excessive viewership .

TV journalist Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV has been called out by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) for allegedly using unethical tactics to claim a high viewership of the recently-launched news channel.

In a first, the NBA has not only singled out the channel for the malpractices, but also lodged a complaint with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) even before the first data of Republic TV’s viewership is released.

In its letter to the TRAI, the NBA has claimed that Goswami’s channel is running multiple feeds on various multi-system operator (MSO) platforms as a TRAI violation.

Defending its measurement system, following several English news channels pulling out of the TV ratings and viewership monitoring agency, Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) India on Friday said that “Barc India was set up with the mandate to measure What India Watches, and our (TV ratings) measurement system delivers exactly that.We have a transparent policy on the matter of measuring channels. This policy has been consistently applied to all channels who subscribe to our measurement.”

In fact, NBA had, earlier this week, asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to take action against Republic for alleged unethical distribution practices.

However, Barc reiterated that dual frequency or having multiple channel listings is a common practise used by broadcasters. “The fact is that this is a common distribution strategy among various TV channels, particularly News Broadcasters, to place their channels on multiple LCNs (logical channel number) and across genres in the past, and they continue to do so even now. Based on information collected from various monitoring agencies we have seen that multiple English news channels on different occasions have placed themselves on multiple LCNs viz across 64 distribution networks during rebranding/revamp, across 16 networks during budget coverage, across 12 networks during UP elections, etc. It has become a usual practice,” the agency explained in a statement.

Earlier in May ,India Today Television and some other prominent English news channels have decided to pull out of Broadcast Audience Research Council of India or BARC rating system after it ignored News Broadcasters’ Association’s (NBA) request to not to release the viewership ratings of newly launched Republic TV.

“Given your indifference to the serious situation at hand, we are left with no option but to advise some of our aggrieved members to opt out of BARC’s watermarking system with immediate effect until there is appropriate redressal of our grievance,” NBA’s letter to BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta said.

“We find that despite our two letters, you have gone ahead and released the inflated and corrupt data for Republic TV. This has serious implications and has caused irreversible damage to India’s existing English news TV channels,” NBA’s Annie Joseph said in her letter.

INDIA TODAY DECIDES TO PULL OUT OF BARC – STATEMENT

India Today TV has exited BARC viewership measurement system for now, as the data for the English news genre is distorted.

The same is due to various malpractices which continue unchecked and are subverting the system.

“We hope credible data will return soon. Though the data stops, the Gold Standard of Journalism continues,” a statement by India Today Television said on Thursday.

NBA COMPLAINS AGAINST REPUBLIC TV’S UNETHICAL TACTICS

The News Broadcasters Association had recently approached Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) against Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV for allegedly using unethical tactics to claim a high viewership.

The NBA not only singled out the channel for the malpractices, but also lodged a complaint with the TRAI before the first data of Republic TV’s viewership was released.

In its letter to the TRAI, the NBA has claimed that Goswami’s channel is running multiple feeds on various multi-system operator (MSO) platforms.

TRAI guidelines related to Telecommunications (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2017 dated March 3, 2017, states that “It shall be mandatory for the distributor to place channels in the EPG, in such a way that the television channels of the same genre are placed together consecutively and one channel appears at only one place.”

This has been mentioned in a letter that the NBA wrote to TRAI to point out the unethical tactics being employed by Republic TV.

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