TV ratings must be fair and researched: Ravi Shankar Prasad


Expressing unhappiness over the current television rating system, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said the media industry must devise a “fair and researched” methodology to correctly reflect the performance of various programmes.

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“Television ranking must become fair and researched. I don’t know what happened now. Whatever alternative bodies have come in, I am not impressed by that. How can a few hundred boxes determine which programmes are better and which are not?” Prasad said in his inaugural address at the annual media and entertainment industry gathering Ficci Frames here.
He, however, was quick to clarify that the government does not want to get involved in the process, but underlined the need for a better and more credible system of TV ratings.

“Please get a more reasonable, fair and structured mechanism to determine the rating of television content so that real content drives the quality of the programmes,” he said. TV ratings in the country are given by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (Barc India), which is jointly promoted by three apex industry bodies — Indian Broadcasting Foundation (60%), Indian Society of Advertisers (20%) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (20%).

Barc India was set up in 2012 with the specific purpose of designing, commissioning, supervising and owning the television audience measurement system, and reported the first weekly data in April 2015.

Prasad said broadcasters must make content available in smaller towns with the help of digital platforms.

He said the country offers close to $1 trillion opportunity to digital companies over the next five years. Giving the break-up, he said the electronics sector will be a $350-billion industry, while IT, IT-enabled services and e-commerce will account for another $350 billion and the communication sector will reach $250 billion over the next five years.

Urging the media and entertainment industry to tap the global markets, he said, “India’s ideas and India-created products should find global space.”

Prasad sees the target of 500 million Internet users being achieved by the end of this year instead of the earlier projection of 2017. “We are connecting 2,50,000 km of our villages with the optical fibre network. The programme started in end 2011, and when I became the minister, only 357 km of optical fibre and 2,300 km of optical pipes were laid. As of March 30, the same stood at 1,30,000 km (optical pipe) and 110,000 km of OFC. That is the speed we are working with but I am not happy and we need to expedite,” he said.