The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Thursday asked the Broadcast Audience Research Council to immediately stop counting landing channel or landing page for measuring TV ratings and submit a compliance report within 15 days.

The landing channel or the landing page refers to the Logical Channel Number (LCN), which is displayed first when a set top box is switched on.

As per the practice, this channel is available for display on all the STBs connected to the network of a distributor. Such channels may be available to all customers irrespective of the choice and whether it is a Pay or Free-to-Air channel.

The ministry’s decision came after some broadcasters approached it alleging some TV networks, in collusion with broadcasters and distributors, were placing their channels on the landing page to influence television ratings.

All TV channels have a unique watermark ID which BARC uses to track TV ratings. Landing page should always be without watermark, something some broadcasters were not doing. This then reflected in higher TV ratings for these channels.

Higher ratings lead to higher advertising revenues. The ministry felt this could lead to an “unholy alliance” amongst broadcaster, advertiser and the rating agency.

The broadcaster regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Tuesday issued a consultation paper to seek views of the stakeholders on resolution of issues related to placement of a TV channel on a landing page. – News18