I&B Ministry Calls For Chip In TV Set-Top Boxes To Monitor Channels Watched And Duration

| April 16 , 2018 , 10:05 IST

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has proposed that a chip be installed in new television set-top boxes to monitor which channels are watched and for what duration for more effective advertising.

A senior official of the ministry quoted by PTI on Monday said the move is aimed to get "more authentic" viewership figures for every channel.

"It is proposed to ask DTH operators to install a chip in the new set-top boxes which can give data about channels watched and their duration," the I&B Ministry told the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its proposal.

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"This would help advertisers and the DAVP (Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity) to spend their advertising expenditure wisely. Only those channels which are widely watched will get promoted," an official added.

The DAVP is the nodal agency of the government for advertising of various ministries and its organisations.

According to the official, the ministry "feels that Doordarshan viewership is under-reported" and once the chip is installed, it would give the real viewership figures of the channel.

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The installation of chips in set-top boxes would also end the monopoly of the Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) which currently monitors the television audience's viewership and preference in the country.

The I&B Ministry official alleged that the BARC is "almost like a monopoly and there is no alternative" and it "does not reveal how they arrive at the viewership figures, methodology they apply and the area of survey".

However, the BARC refuted the allegations, and said in a statement, "We are a joint industry body that was set up in close consultation with all stakeholders, including government representatives and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Our data collection and reporting methodology was arrived at post these consultations and consensus."