TV9 Network walks out of NBDA, to protect interest of majority of TV news platforms in the country

Barun Das as Chief Executive Officer in TV9

Leading news network of India, TV9 Network, enjoying a leadership rating status, has decided to quit News Broadcasters & Digital Association (NBDA) over moves by the industry body to further delay the resumption of news ratings in the country.

In an open letter addressed to the NBDA Board, TV9 Network CEO, Barun Das, expressed his dismay over attempts, yet again, by NBDA to raise doubts over BARC data while aiming to further delay the data release for the news genre.

The NBDA issued a press release yesterday demanding that “before releasing the ratings make systems more transparent, robust and reliable without any manual intervention.”

Das, in his letter to NBDA, said, “We, TV9 network, a full member of NBDA , do not subscribe to this view of NBDA Board. This seems to be a view point of a select members of NBDA and certainly not that of entire NBDA.”

The NBDA press release was issued after the Information & Broadcasting (I&B) ministry announced its decision to immediately resume news ratings.

The ministry’s decision came at the back of sustained efforts of several news channels, working with various stakeholders – after suffering revenue and credibility loss for more than 1 year.

Putting his decision to withdraw from NBDA in context, TV9 Network CEO Das said, “As a full member of NBDA, we have tried to reason with NBDA repeatedly but to no avail. I am not sure whether NBDA actually wants the ratings to resume at all. The latest NBDA communication only makes a bad situation for the News Industry worse.”

Arguing in favour of his immediate withdrawal, Das said, ” I have been trying to reason with NBDA repeatedly but to no avail. On the contrary, NBDA has been expressing views in public, on the most critical issue pertaining to news genre, which I am complete in disagreement with. Therefore, I am left with no option but to withdraw from NBDA with immediate effect.”

Please do find below the Open letter addressed to the NBDA Board:

Dear Annie

 

  1. Despite the latest I&B ministry directive to immediately restore the news

ratings, the latest NBDA press release of last night is a clear attempt, yet

again, to stall BARC ratings.

 

  1. We, TV9 network, a full member of NBDA, do not subscribe to this view

of NBDA Board. This seems to be a view point of a select members of

NBDA and certainly not that of entire NBDA.

 

  1. The ministry’s decision came at the back of sustained efforts of several

news channels, working with various stakeholders – after suffering revenue

and credibility loss for more than 1 year.

 

  1. Through the press release issued yesterday, NBDA has tried to raise

doubts about the robustness of the data. The question to be asked is

whether NBDA considers itself outside of the entire TV industry? If the

same transparency (the same robustness) is yielding data for all other

genres. Why would it (data) be wrong only for the news genre?

 

  1. The NBDA’s approach to the entire ratings issue has been curious. It

never answered my fundamental query, asked numerous times: WHO

stopped BARC ratings and WHY? Your response was first casual and

evasive, ultimately unresponsive. Our company secretary vide mail dated

December 13, 2021 below remains unanswered till today. We asked

the following specific questions to NBDA:

 

  1. A) if not NBDA , then WHO was instrumental in singling out News genre by

stopping the release of ratings and WHY.

 

  1. B) HOW is it so that NBDA has allowed it to go on for over a year and has not

intervened effectively enough to resume ratings in the interest of the news

broadcasters.

 

  1. C) Why does NBDA think that rating system was not “clean, robust and free

from manipulation/ tampering” ONLY FOR NEWS GENRE ?

 

  1. D) Why, despite the fact that technical committee approved the suggested

improvement in last July, News TV ratings haven’t been released as yet ..

what has NBDA’s stand been with respect to immediate resumption of

ratings to help the cause of news broadcasters who are hurting badly in

terms of loss of advertising revenue due to suspension of any ratings?

 

  1. The ONLY good your latest press release does for the Industry is that it

unintendedly answers the question you have been avoided all this while.

By standing between the MIB’s unequivocal order for and the immediate

resumption of BARC ratings, you have made it clear that it is YOU, the

NBDA Board that did not and does not want BARC ratings – and We, a full

member of NBDA do not subscribe to the board’s view.

 

  1. The stalling of ratings has imperiled the news genre viability from a

revenue perspective. I see this as an unfair trade practice. The news genre

is being put to disadvantage as more and more advertisers threaten to walk

out. Here again, genuine interests of the news TV industry are being

compromised.

 

  1. A general apprehension that NBDA is tooth and nail fighting to keep the

news ratings stalled only to serve the business interests of a handful legacy

channels seems to be vindicated finally.

 

  1. It is ironic that some of NBDA board members claimed its viewership

supremacy to advertisers quoting data from some unverified third party

while casting aspersions on BARC data. It pains me to point out that when

it suited the legacy players, they merrily cited BARC’s data. But when the

ratings are not good for them, the BARC data is stalled and some

absolutely unverified source gets acceptance.

 

  1. I see now a narrative is sought to be woven around the argument that

“what is the hurry?” Truth be told, the News genre has already suffered for

over a year. To my mind, we are already running a year behind in an

industry that runs on a real time basis.

 

  1. I am not sure whether NBDA wants the ratings to resume at all. The latest

NBDA communication only makes a bad situation for the News Industry

worse.

 

I have been trying to reason with NBDA repeatedly but to no avail. On the

contrary, NBDA has been expressing views in public, on the most critical

issue pertaining to news genre, which I am complete in disagreement

with. Therefore, I am left with no option but to withdraw from NBDA with

immediate effect.

 

Therefore, I am left with no option but to withdraw from NBDA with

immediate effect.

 

Please refund the remainder amount on account of TV9 membership with

the body, as per your policy.

 

Best

Barun Das

 




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