Cabinet approves policy guidelines for TV rating agencies

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, for television rating agencies in India. The proposal is based on recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), which serves as a dual regulatory body for both broadcasting and telecom sectors.

After approval of Inter-Ministerial Group, the broadcasting ministry had taken up the issue with the Union Cabinet.

The guidelines include norms and procedure for the registration of agencies, shareholding pattern, equity stakes and the review of performance of the TV rating agencies among others.

It has been decided that all rating agencies including the existing rating agencies shall obtain registration from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and no single company/legal entity either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings shall have 10 per cent or more stake in both rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies.

The ratings ought to be technology neutral and shall capture data across multiple viewing platforms viz. cable TV, Direct-to- Home (DTH), terrestrial TV etc.

The guidelines also put 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 until it reaches the figure of 50,000. A quarter of panel homes shall be rotated every year.

The rating agencies have also been asked to submit the detailed methodology to the government and also publish it on their website. They should also set up an internal audit mechanism to get entire methodology/processes audited on quarterly basis and through an independent auditor annually.

The guidelines, which come into effect immediately from the date of notification, also state that 30 days’ time will be given to the existing agency to comply with the norms. 

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