New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) The government Thursday introduced a comprehensive regulatory framework for television rating agencies in India.
The framework in the form of guidelines was approved by the union cabinet in a meeting here.
The guidelines cover detailed procedures for registration of rating agencies, eligibility norms, terms and conditions of registration, cross-holdings, methodology for audience measurement and a complaint redressal mechanism.
Sale and use of ratings, audit, disclosure, reporting requirements and action on non-compliance of guidelines are also covered, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
The proposal was based on recommendations made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on "Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies" in September 2013.
According to the guidelines, all rating agencies including the existing ones shall obtain registration from the ministry of information and broadcasting.
No company either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings shall have substantial equity holding -- that is, 10 percent or more of paid up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/advertising agencies.
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 has to be implemented within six months of the guidelines coming into force.
The rating agency shall submit the detailed methodology to the government and also publish it on its website.
Non-compliance of guidelines on cross-holding, methodology, secrecy, privacy, audit, public disclosure and reporting requirements shall lead to forfeiture of two bank guarantees worth Rs.1 crore furnished by the company in the first instance, and, in the second instance shall lead to cancellation of registration.
The guidelines for television rating agencies in India are designed to address aberrations in the existing television rating system, Tewari said.