With a panel size of 180,000 individuals, BARC India is the largest measurement company of its kind in the world.

Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India is a Joint Industry Company founded by stakeholder bodies that represent Broadcasters, Advertisers, and Advertising and Media Agencies. Built upon a robust and future-ready technology backbone, BARC India owns and manages a transparent, accurate, and inclusive TV audience measurement system. Apart from the currency products to the TV industry, BARC India also provides a suite of Insight products designed for Broadcasters, Advertisers and Agencies. The Big Data and Insights generated by BARC India powers efficient media spends and content decisions in a highly dynamic and growing television sector.

Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC)  is an industry body set up to design, commission, supervise and own an accurate, reliable and timely television audience measurement system for India. It currently measures TV Viewing habits of 197 million TV households in the country, using 40,000 sample panel homes. This will go up to 50,000 in the next couple of years, as mandated by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Guided by the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI )and MIB notifications of January 2014, BARC India brings together the three key stakeholders in television audience measurement – broadcasters, advertisers, and advertising and media agencies, via their apex bodies.

BARC India is committed towards establishing a robust, transparent and accountable governance framework for providing data points that are required to plan media spends more effectively.

Standardization Certificates obtained by BARC India are CESP France Certification in April 2017 which validates representative-ness of BARC India’s TV Measurement Panel and by ISI, Kolkata in May 2018 certifying the representativeness of BARC India’s Panel Design & Household Selection

It has its own Code of Conduct Rules. Excerpts are as under:

CODE OF CONDUCT FOR REDRESSING VIEWERSHIP MALPRACTICES (Effective 1st  April 2020)1. Viewership Malpractice(s) “Viewership Malpractice(s)” shall means any activity or abstinence from any activity or abstinence from any activity or a promise to do or abstain from doing any activity whether individually or in a group of persons; whether directly or indirectly; with an aim of manipulating or altering or tampering

(i) the viewership pattern(s) and / or

(ii) habits of a Panel Household(s), and /or

(iii) the viewership data and / or

(iv) any of the process leading to generation of Ratings , which does or may potentially result in altering the Ratings of any television channel or television programme or any content or an advertisement or any saleable media content in any manner or in a manner which is in breach of a EULA or BARC policies and includes:

a. Attempt to and/or obtain details of the Panel Households, like address, member names, and any/all related information etc.

b. Attempt to and/or bribe/influence a Panel Household to watch or not to watch a television programme or Channel or any content;

c. Attempt to and/or bribe any of the staff appointed by BARC or its agents, service provider or any other entity in possession of any data relating to Panel Households or Ratings.

2. Vigilance Team Vigilance Team means an in-house team of BARC in charge of investigating Viewership Malpractices.

10. Who can complain and Where?

a.       Subscribers, Panel Household members, any concerned agencies and any independent entity can register a complaint with BARC Vigilance Team.

b.       The complaint must relate to Viewership Malpractice as defined under this Code and shall be e-mailed to : vigilance@barcindia.co.in. BARC Vigilance Team shall investigate such complaints as may be received.

14. Scheme of sanctions The Disciplinary Council can initiate any of the following actions:

a. First Offense: Written warning to the relevant Subscriber or a penalty upto Rs.25 Lakh, or both, to be complied within 30 (thirty) calendar days of receipt of the BDC’s Order by the relevant Subscriber/ TV Channel;

b. Second Offense: Written warning to the relevant Subscriber; Subscriber’s name to be published in the Watch List on the Website of BARC India for a period of 4(four) weeks and a penalty upto Rs.50 Lakh to be complied within 30 (thirty) calendar days of receipt of the Written Warning by the relevant Subscriber;

c. Third Offense: Written warning to the relevant Subscriber(s)/TV Channel(s); Subscriber(s)/TV Channel(s) name to be published in the Watch List on the Website of BARC India and one month’s suspension of relevant Subscriber(s)/TV Channel(s), i.e. viewership data of the relevant Subscriber(s)/TV Channel(s)’ from the subject Subscriber(s)/TV Channel(s) shall not form a part of the Ratings for one month and a penalty upto Rs.1 Crore to be complied within 30 (thirty) calendar days of receipt of the Written Warning by the relevant Subscriber(s)/TV Channel(s);

d. Fourth Offense: Termination of the EULA with respect to relevant Subscriber(s/)TV Channel(s), BARC shall be entitled to retain and/or demand the License Fees accrued by BARC till such date of termination.

#TRPScam in India:

Mumbai Police Commissioner held a press conference about the scam on 8th October,2020 in which he said that, the owners of two Marathi entertainment channels, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema, had been arrested, and that Republic news channel would be questioned. However during this Press Conference he did not inform that name of another channel that figures in the FIR filed by the Mumbai police and not of Republic.  The channel’s name also appears the police complaint filed by Hansa Research Group Pvt Ltd, a research group contracted by the BARC which had alerted the police to the scam.

However an FIR was filed in the Kandivali Police Station on a complaint by an individual. In which it was found that, some other Channel has bought TRP by paying money and installed Barometers in house and not Republic. This led to massive controversy.

Police has registered a case under Sections 409 Criminal Breach of Trust,and 420 Cheating under Indian Penal Code,1860.


Section 409 in The Indian Penal Code

409. Criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent.—Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property, or with any dominion over property in his capacity of a public servant or in the way of his business as a banker, mer­chant, factor, broker, attorney or agent, commits criminal breach of trust in respect of that property, shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either descrip­tion for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 420 in The Indian Penal Code

420. Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.—Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person de­ceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Legal Status:

An offence of Section 420 is compoundable but with permission of the court

Prem Narain Gupta and Ors. vs Shiva Prasad Agarwal  1962 CriL.J. 801;Nikhil Merchant v. Central Bureau of Investigation (2008) 9 SCC 677; Manoj Sharma v. State and others (2008) 16 SCC 1;Gian Singh Versus State of Punjab & Another (2012) 10 SCC 303

Section 409 is non-compoundable: However notwithstanding the fact the offence under Section 409 IPC is a non- compoundable offence, there should be no impediment in quashing the FIR under section 482 of CR.PC, if the Court is otherwise satisfied that the facts and circumstances of the case so warrant. Bharat Bhaskar & Ors vs The State & Anr

Though the offence punishable u/s.409 of IPC is not compoundable but the fact remains that the amount for which the complainant filed the complaint has been returned by the accused and this appears to be a commercial transaction between the parties. In such circumstances, the complaint can be quashed under the inherent power of this Court as provided Section 482 of Cr.P.C. Kashinath Gupta vs Gujrat Markentile , Madhya Pradesh High Court


The issue is not serious. Charges against accused are compoundable. Actual remedy is with BARC and the said institution has reportedly acted and have penalized the erring channels as per reports available. In such case there was no need to come for Commissioner of Police to brief media when serious other investigation cases are pending.

Shruti Desai

21st October,2020