The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) is the apex body controlling the organisation and distribution of Television Rating Points (TRP) in the country. BARC has contracted Hansa Research as a vendor to do certain field operations.
In a recent news conference, Assistant Police Inspector Mr Sachin Vaze of the Crime Branch, Mumbai Police is reported to have said that “According to general business ethics and guidelines issued by the ministry, Hansa Research or any of its associate company cannot engage in business with any TV channels even for the purpose of advertisement whose TRP is being monitored by BARC and Hansa group is directly associated with BARC for installing the bar-o-meters. We are probing if Hansa Research which is the complainant in the case is the real beneficiary of this transaction and also accomplice.”
“The comment and news report is misleading” said Shekar Swamy, Hansa Group CEO. “As the TRP agency, the compliance to I&B Ministry guidelines is a BARC responsibility, which I am sure they take seriously. I&B Ministry guidelines do not prohibit Hansa Research from providing this field service. Hansa has been engaged by BARC for 20 States/UTs and two other vendors are dealing with all the States/UTs in South India and certain important States in North and East India. Hansa does not see the data relating to TV viewership in panel homes, as these go directly to BARC’s servers from the installed Bar-o-meters. It is BARC that determines and provides TRP data to its stakeholders, said Shekar Swamy, Group CEO of Hansa.
“We are unable to comprehend how Hansa Research or any of our associate companies can be a beneficiary. We don’t own any TV channels, who are the only beneficiary through receipt of advertising revenue based on ratings,” added Shekar Swamy.
BARC is the industry body set up by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (representing TV channels), the Indian Society of Advertisers and Advertising Agencies Association of India. The majority of the BARC Board Members are CEOs and senior executives drawn from TV Channels who sell advertising time. “With full knowledge of this Board structure, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has permitted BARC to provide the TV audience measurement service,” Shekar Swamy said.