Govt, media cos talk of alternate broadcast body

Written by Ashish Sinha | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 31 2010, 05:32am hrs
Formation of alternate television ratings body, self-regulation of content by broadcasters and possible formation of an alternate broadcast regulator came up for deliberations on Tuesday between the government and media firms in a closed-door roundtable organised by business chamber Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

We have initiated steps for the formation of Broadcast Audience Research Council or Barc, an alternate television measurement agency, Punit Goenka, CEO, ZEEL said after a daylong deliberations between CEOs of media and high-level officials of the information and broadcasting ministry. Barc will soon initiate a nationwide survey to determine the number of television homes in each state and the respective requirement for measurement instruments.

I&B minister Ambika Soni, along with her ministry officials and senior executives of most media firms attended the meeting. Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India described the meeting as open and non-partisan. The main agenda of our meeting was to discuss content regulation and the television measurement. We had freewheeling discussions on most issues, Shankar said.

In order to initiate more interactions between the government and the media firms, CII will soon form a standing committee comprising representations from government, various stakeholders, and the broadcasters. We will meet again soon to take forward some of the issues that were discussed here today, Amit Khanna, chairman of Reliance Entertainment, and the president of All India Film Producers Council said.

Jawahar Goel, president, Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) said, We at IBF have devised and shared a revised content code with the I&B ministry. We will follow it. It is up to the government to notify it.

Driving home the point that the government supports the medias stance of self-regulation, Soni said, Self-regulation will be the norm for the future.

On the formation of an alternate ratings agency, she said there was a need to have wider representation to arrive at the TV ratings. I am told Barc is being set up, which will look at the ratings business. I am sure, Barc will involve TAM and aMap in its services, Soni added.