The Indian Government has approved a new regulatory framework for television ratings agencies, in a bid to ensure audience measurement systems become credible and accountable.
Regulatory control over India's TV ratings agencies will be handed to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) following a meeting of the Union Cabinet in New Delhi on 9 January 2014. The agencies will now each have to comply with eligibility criteria and register with the MIB, Minister Manish Tewari told reporters following the meeting.
The guidelines also cover cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement, a complaint redressal mechanism, sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and action on non-compliance of guidelines.
Among the stipulations for agencies are that ratings systems should be technology-neutral and capture data across multiple platforms, including cable, direct-to-home (DTH) satellite, and terrestrial TV. A minimum audience measurement panel size of 20,000 must be set up within six months, with a 10,000 increase per year until the pool reaches 50,000.
The new framework – which was based on recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in September 2013 – has been designed to make rating agencies accountable to stakeholders including the Government, broadcasters, advertisers, advertising agencies and viewers.