The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has  recommended guidelines (pdf) for television rating agencies which says that agencies need to collect television viewership data from a minimum of 20,000 panel homes.

It has also recommended  the panel size should be increased by 10,000 every year until it reaches 50,000 homes. The panel homes need to be selected from a pool of households through surveys, which should be at least 10 times the number of panel homes for audience measurement.

According to a report by Times of India, eligibility conditions for agencies include minimum net worth of Rs 20 crore with cross holding restrictions. TRAI has recommended a restriction on equity holding of 10% or more between rating agencies and broadcasters, advertisers, and advertising agencies.

Some of the other recommendations by TRAI include:

– A self regulatory body such as Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) to regulate television ratings.

– Any agency that meets eligibility criteria can apply and get registered with MIB for conducting TV ratings.

– The rating agency’s process needs to be audited internally on quarterly basis through and through an independent auditor annually. All the audit reports should be uploaded on the agency’s website.

– TRAI also suggested penal provisions for non-compliance of guidelines including financial penalty from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore and cancellation of registration.

TRAI says Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) will decide on the guidelines for regulating the television rating agencies based on TRAI’s recommendation within two months. All the agencies are required to follow the guidelines within six months from the date the guidelines are published.

These recommendations for guidelines to regulate television rating agencies comes after Nielsen and Kantar owned TAM faced a $1.3 billion lawsuit from NDTV for lack of accuracy and allegations of manipulations. Following the lawsuit, Star India, Viacom19, Network18, Sony Entertainment, Times TV Network, NDTV and Zee Entertainment enterprises Ltd had decided to discontinue the services of TAM Media Research.

While TRAI’s recommendations are welcome, we feel that it could have taken latest technology and advancement into considering in order to monitor the TV ratings. We have written extensively on how to disrupt TAM. Read more here.

Our reports so far on the TAM situation:
– Updated: WPP Says NDTV’s TAM Ratings Lawsuit Is Hypothetical, May Sue For Defamation
– How To Disrupt TAM Ratings For TV
– What NDTV’s Whistleblower ‘The Consultant’ Said About Rigging TAM Ratings
– NDTV Files Lawsuit Against Nielsen For Manipulating TV Ratings