On November 23, 2021, CCI dismissed an information filed by Mr. Gunasekaran (‘Informant’) alleging contravention of Sections 3 and 4 of the Act by Broadcast Audience Research Council (‘BARC’).
In the information, the Informant alleged that BARC, a television audience measurement rating agency, suspended the reporting for ratings of news channels for eight to 12 weeks while allowing rating of other channels to be published resulting in institutional integrity being compromised. The Informant also alleged that BARC colluded (in contravention of Section 3 of the Act) with a private news channel and a media outlet to manipulate their Target Rating Point (‘TRP’) ratings in a manner that they would be perceived as the highest grossing television channels which would, in turn, invite more advertisements.
The Informant also alleged that BARC had no significant or recognisable competitors in the market for service of television audience measurement and supply of related advisory reports, making them dominant in this market. Accordingly, the Informant also alleged that the manipulation of the ratings resulted in contravention of Section 4 of the Act.
With respect to the allegations, CCI took note of two arguments raised by BARC: (i) BARC has ensured the registration of a criminal complaint with the Mumbai Police in relation to the ‘TRP Scam’ and assisted several law enforcement agencies in their investigations surrounding the ‘ratings manipulation’; and (ii) BARC only temporarily suspended reporting of news and niche genres with a view to allow its technical committee to review and augment the existing standards of reporting viewership data for news and niche genres.
Based on these submissions, CCI concluded that the issues provided in the information filed by the Informant did not require further examination. CCI directed the matter to be closed in terms of Section 26(2) of the Act.
 R. Gunasekaran v. Broadcast Audience Research Council, Case No. 11 of 2021.