TRP Scam: CCI orders closure of information against BARC for alleged anti-competitive practices

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  • Last Updated on 15 January, 2022

Competition Act 2002 - Prohibition of agreements - Anti-competitive agreements

Case Details: R. Gunasekaran v. Broadcast Audience Research Council - [2022] 134 taxmann.com 30 (CCI)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairperson
    • Ms. Sangeeta Verma and Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, Member

Facts of the Case

In the present case, Information has been filed under section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 by Informant against Broadcast Audience Research Council (“OP/’BARC”) alleging contravention of the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of the Act.

The OP was stated to be a television audience measurement rating agency registered as a not-for-profit company under section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013. The OP was involved in the business of measurement, analysis, and provision of television viewership data to those who avail of its services, such as advertisers, broadcasters, and advertising agencies.

The Informant stated that the OP had suspended reporting of ratings for 8-12 weeks for news channels while continuing to publish ratings of other channels. The informant alleged that OP had colluded with a private news channel and a media outlet and manipulated TRP ratings of the said news channel and media outlet such that they were perceived as the highest-grossing television channels which would, in turn, invite more advertisements, and therefore, the OP has entered into an anti-competitive agreement which is prohibited under section 3 of the Act.

Concerning the dominance of the OP, the Informant had averred that there are no recognizable or significant competitors within the relevant market, and the OP is unaffected by the market forces, being the sole supplier of such TRP ratings. Therefore, it occupies a dominant position in the relevant market.

CCI Held

Based on the above averments and allegations, the Informant prayed the Commission to regulate the operations of the OP and also direct the OP, from releasing weekly ratings for television channels.

However, from the reply of OP, it appeared that OP got a criminal complaint registered with Mumbai Police concerning ‘TRP Scam’. OP further claimed to have assisted several law enforcement agencies in their investigations surrounding ‘rating manipulation’ and the informant had not contested said submissions and assertions of OP.

The commission observed that it was unnecessary to dwell any further on the issues projected in the Information, and accordingly, the Information was ordered to be closed.

List of Cases Referred to

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