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Network18 writes to I&B ministry over BARC's data validation and outlier policy

BARC has formed a two-member committee to review the policy

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MUMBAI: News broadcasting network Network18 India has shot off a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (MIB) raising concerns over Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) of India’s data validation and outlier policy, Indiantelevision.com has learnt.

According to those in the know, the network has brought to the ministry’s attention the subjective nature of BARC’s implementation of outlier policy and its impact on TV ratings of channels with a relatively smaller viewership base.

On its part, BARC has consistently maintained that it cannot identify landing pages. Hence, reliance on manual intervention in weeding out outliers makes the process susceptible to bias is a view held by a section within the industry.

Indiantelevision.com reached out to Network18 for a comment, the network, however, did not confirm this development.

BARC’s treatment of landing pages has raised a furore among broadcasters over its approach post TDSAT’s order on landing pages.

Reacting to stakeholder concerns, the BARC board gave its nod to form a two-member committee to carry out an independent review of BARC’s data validation and outlier policy.

With opinion divided within the industry, some broadcasters have also written letters, highlighting the negative impact of landing pages, to TRAI and BARC’s technical committee.

On 28 May 2019, TDSAT set aside TRAI’s 3 December 2018 direction to rule in favour of landing page placement of channels.

Data for week 22, first since the landing page ruling, saw CNN News 18 upset the English news apple cart to top the chart, followed by Republic TV, Times Now, DD India and India Today Television.

BARC switched back to its previous methodology from week 23 onward claiming it had received multiple representations from stakeholders and the mandate of its board.

BARC’s flip-flop with its outlier policy implementation further fuelled the landing page row.

With the two-member committee now reviewing the policy, industry hopes for a speedy and acceptable resolution.

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