The Indian telecom regulator (Trai) presented Tuesday a list of recommendations for the restructuring of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), a step that will have far-reaching implications for the national television industry.
BARC measures the public in India. It was founded in 2015 and brings together advertisers, agencies and broadcasters.
One of the most important changes at Tri is the complete overhaul of BARC’s Executive Board.
The panel said that at least 50% of its members must be independent, including an expert in metrology, statistics with a national reputation and two representatives of the government or regulatory authority.
She also urged advertisers to make a greater effort to increase transparency by stipulating that members of the board of directors may not be employed for more than two years. The regulator also attempted to introduce an annual audit of BARC by an independent third party, after expressing concerns about the neutrality and reliability of BARC’s television ratings.
In its statement, BARC indicated that it is reviewing the Trai’s recommendations in consultation with its Board of Directors.
The recommendations were formulated after 15 months of consultation with the various stakeholders in the sector. In December 2018, Tray presented a Suo Moto consultation document on the revision of the BARC television channel classification system.
The regulator calls for equal representation and equal voting rights for industry associations – the Indian Broadcasting Federation, the Indian Advertisers’ Corporation and the Association of Advertising Agencies of India. According to Mr Trey, equal rights must be guaranteed regardless of their participation.
The supervisory authority has proposed that the chairmanship of the Board of Directors be changed every two years between the three trade organisations.
And for those put forward by inter-branch organisations, there should be a cooling-off period of four years for successive periods.