Strict regulatory guidelines put in place for tv rating firms

Tags: News
Government on Thursday came out with the much-delayed but stringent regulatory framework for television rating agencies and gave 30 days for existing agencies to comply with the guidelines, which comes into effect immediately.

The guidelines were issued following the cabinet nod for the comprehensive regulatory framework, which makes it mandatory for all rating agencies to register with the information and broadcasting ministry.

This has been necessitated due to some of the ratings being not representative. Also there has been lack of transparency, reliability and credibility of data and other shortcomings in the present rating system. Members of parliamentary standing committee on information technology had also expressed concern over the shortcomings.

Giving details, information and broadcasting minister Manish Tiwari told reporters that the guidelines will cover detailed procedures for registration of rating agencies, eligibility norms, terms and conditions of registration, cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement, a company redressal mechanism, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure reporting requirements and action on non-compliance of guidelines. The telecom regulator, TRAI and I and B ministry can now conduct inspections of the rating company with a "resonable notice". This is aimed at streamlining the process of rating viewer-ship of TV channels and would bring about transparency in the system, Tiwari said. The guidelines are based on recommendations of TRAI. Hereafter no single company shall have substantial equity holding that is, 10 per cent or more of paid up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers /advertising agencies. Ratings ought to be technology neutral and shall capture data across multiple viewing platforms viz. cable TV, (DTH), Terrestrial TV, it said. Panel homes for audience measurement shall be drawn from the pool of households selected through an establishment survey, it said adding a minimum panel size of 20,000 to be implemented within six months of the guidelines coming into force.

Thereafter, the panel size shall be increased by 10,000 every year. Secrecy and privacy of the panel homes must be maintained. 25 per cent of panel homes shall be rotated every year. The rating agency shall submit the detailed methodology to the government.

Non-compliance of guidelines on cross-holding, methodology, secrecy, privacy, audit, public disclosure and reporting requirements shall lead to forfeiture of two bank guarantees worth Rs 1 crore furnished by the company in the first instance. and on the second instance it shall lead to cancellation of registration.

krsudhaman@mydigitalfc.com

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