The Cabinet on Thursday approved the information and broadcasting ministry’s proposal to bring out a comprehensive regulatory framework for television ratings agencies in India.
Under the new guidelines, all TV ratings agencies, including the existing ones, need to register with the regulator. As of now, the new rules will not allow foreign direct investment or FDI in this segment, but the government, or its successor, may consider allowing FDI later.
No single company or legal entity either directly or through its associates or inter-connected undertakings shall have substantial equity holding – that is, 10% or more of paid-up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters, advertisers and advertising agencies.
The guidelines cover procedures for registration, eligibility, cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement, a complaint-redressal mechanism, sale and use of ratings, so on. The proposal is based on the recommendations made by regulator Trai in September last year.
It says ratings ought to be technology-neutral and shall capture data across multiple viewing platforms (cable TV, direct-to-home (DTH), terrestrial TV).
Panel homes for audience measurement shall be drawn from the pool of households selected through an establishment survey. A minimum panel size of 20,000 is 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 50,000. Non-compliance of guidelines shall lead to forfeiture of two bank guarantees worth Rs 1 crore in the first instance, and, cancellation of registration in the second instance. Existing ratings agencies will get 30 days to comply with the guidelines.