IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 16th Oct 2020

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.– Denis Waitley

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt ( Who Should Regulate TRP’s ? )is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020-21.

EDITORIAL HUNT #192 :“ Who Should Regulate TRP’s ?

Who Should Regulate TRP's ?

Anuradha Raman
Who Should Regulate TRP’s ?


Should the government regulate TRPs?


Though the government can facilitate the process, it should be the industry that regulates TRPs
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Information and Broadcasting : Communication


Purchasing power plays an important role for TRP’s to be allocated for news channel. Critically examine the role of TRP’s in a mature democracy. -(GS 3)


  • Suspension of TRP’s by BARC
  • Manipulating TRP’s
  • TRP vs Right to be Informed


Last week, the Mumbai Police said that a TRP (Target Rating Points) racket involving three news channels had been busted.

  • SUSPENSION OF TRPs : Since then, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which monitors the TRPs, has suspended ratings of news channels for three months.
  • NEED FOR REGULATION : The alleged scam has once again highlighted the need for regulation.
  • DRIVERS OF TRPs : Television channels are driven by TRPs and it is viewership that drives their business.



  • ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE : Manipulating TRPs is not only a financial scam but also morally and ethically wrong.
  • VIEWERSHIP MATTERS : Viewership generates advertisement spending of nearly ₹27,000 crore. Now, every channel from Doordarshan (DD) to the private channels are eyeing the pie.
  • DEVOLUTION OF BUCKS : This kitty should be distributed honestly. And that is where the dishonesty comes through TRPs.
  • HATE NARRATIVES : Channels are spreading a hate narrative which is violative of the fundamental right of the citizen to know the truth through the media.
  • ROLE OF MEDIA : The media has become a source of disinformation. And that is the ethical issue. Both dimensions, legal and ethical, are equally serious.


  • HUGE ECOSYSTEM : We still have the same small sampling size for the huge ecosystem of TV viewership that we were introduced to at the beginning.
  • BARC ESTIMATIONS : 44,000 homes is the sampling size of BARC. The sample size of Mumbai, is only about 2,000 homes, and Mumbai is the biggest TV viewing metropolis in the country.

The sample of 2,000 homes for a metropolis like Mumbai is woefully inadequate and distorted.

  • UNETHICAL PRACTISES : The problem with this competition for TRPs is that there’s a race to the bottom and therefore, you find people insulting each other, insulting people, doing anything to attract attention.
  • STRANGE BUT TRUE : This is not peculiar to television.

If  we go to a bookshop these days, there is somebody who has already rated the first top-selling 50 books. There is somebody who’s rated the top-selling music.

  • RATING AGENCIES : There is no transparency in who is rating this. We are therefore limited to choosing from what has already been rated for us.
  • RATIONALITY AT THE EDGES : Our intellectual horizons are shrinking, not expanding. And therefore, there’s something very distorted in this process of the ratings mindset and television is a good example we have !


  • ROLE OF TELEVISION : The role of TV news is to create an informed citizenry which makes for a better, more mature democracy.

BARC itself admitted that DD has the highest reach, demographically and geographically, but it doesn’t get a proportionate share of the advertising revenue .

  • PURCHASING POWER PARITY : Advertising goes by another calculation, So, the advertiser goes for that segment which has better purchasing power, which is why this small sliver of the English news channels.
  • WATCH TIME : Incidentally it account for less than 1% of total TV viewership, and each of these channels, which will be 0.4% of that 1% TV viewing ecosystem, is fighting for the advertisement pie.


  • UNEVEN REPRESENTATION : Increasing the sample size is a first step. But equally important is to get the demographic right so that it is truly representative.

BARC pays something like ₹100 to ₹200 to households (a month) where the people meters are installed. And so these households obviously have a particular economic status

  • SELECTED AUDIENCE : They are not representative of the TV viewing public, particularly for an English news channel. It is distorted. It’s not just the sampling size.
  • MEASUREMENT TOOLS : It’s the methodology, the quality of sampling, the geographic and demographic spread that decides quality spectators of a channel.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • CARTELISATION : Let there be four or five agencies in the same city. They will come up with different figures. And  aggregated figures put us near to the truth.
  • REGULATING MEDIA : The state should not step into any such role to regulate the media. It has to be an autonomous body.
  • COMMON INTERESTS : It has to be the industry, as it’s in the interest of the industry. It’s in the interest of those who are spending on advertising to make sure that it is cost effective.
  • ROLE OF STATE : At the same time, the state can facilitate the process. Maybe by passing a law that any violation will face a legal action, criminal action.

TRP’s has to be industry run, there has to be self-regulation and at the same time an independent regulation too.

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Who Should Regulate TRP’s ?


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