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Cabinet clears new TV rating rules

New Delhi, Jan. 9: The Union cabinet today approved a set of guidelines to make the system of rating television channels “transparent, credible and accountable”.

The guidelines (see chart) are based on recommendations submitted by broadcast regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to the information and broadcasting ministry last September.

“The guidelines for TV rating agencies are designed to address aberrations in the existing television rating system,” I&B minister Manish Tewari said.

According to the new rules, a minimum of 20,000 panel homes — homes whose viewership patterns will be recorded — will have to be drawn from a pool representative of all sections of viewers.

The homes in the pool will be selected by the rating agencies after a survey. The number of panel homes will be increased gradually to 50,000.

At present, the TV Audience Measurement (TAM) media research agency rates channels based on a small sample of 9,602 households in metropolitan cities and some towns with populations above one lakh.

TV ratings have been a contentious subject for long, with several channels questioning their reliability.

The guidelines also cover detailed procedures for registration of rating agencies, eligibility norms, cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement, a complaint redress mechanism, sale and use of ratings, audit, reporting requirements, and action on non-compliance of guidelines.