Prasar Bharati has sought representation in a body being formed for measuring TRPs of television programmes, saying its involvement is essential for audience measurement.
According to ministry sources, Prasar Bharati CEO B S Lalli recently shot off a letter to Jawahar Goel, president of Indian Broadcasting Foundation -- the nodal body involved in revival of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) --seeking a say in the body's formation and also its governance.
"I have said in my letter that being the public broadcaster, we should have a representation in BARC and also in its governance as is the case in the UK, as no audience measurement can be done without our involvement," Lalli told PTI.
He said he is yet to hear from IBF on the issue.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said she was not aware about Lalli's letter to IBF but felt that Prasar Bharati and other government media bodies like Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) should have a representation in BARC.
"Bodies like Prasar Bharati and DAVP have a large reach in the country and they should have a representation in such an exercise," she told PTI.
IBF is in the process of reviving BARC, a body formed in 2007 for overseeing the TRP system jointly by IBF, Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI).
However, it had failed to take off then. IBF and ISA are currently involved in reviving BARC.
Prasar Bharati's contention is that the current system of measuring TRPs (being undertaken by two private agencies aMAP and TAM) does not exactly cover Doordarshan's nationwide reach, especially in far flung rural areas consisting of thousands of villages therefore their programmes lose out in the TRP race and also on advertising revenues.
In fact, the government's decision to revive BARC came in the light of increasing discontentment within political circles about monopolisation of the entire TRP measurement process by TAM and aMAP.
Last year in Parliament, Soni after an animated discussion over the issue, had asked for some time to look into the matter and subsequently BARC's revival started.
Like Prasar Bharati, several MPs had also wondered how a particular programme's popularity could be judged by the readings of a few thousand people.
Last week, the government constituted a committee headed by FICCI secretary general Amit Mitra, to review the existing TRP system in India and suggest measures to bring in place an effective mechanism for a transparent system.
The seven-member committee will coordinate with IBF over the matter and would be part of the exercise to revive BARC.