The decision was taken at the BARC board meeting on 4 July where members ratified the technical committee's proposal for the same.
As the agency provides several cuts for its urban viewership, which tends to be heterogeneous in nature, reporting FTA channels separately can be regarded as the first step in breaking up rural viewership, which is more homogeneous.
At present, the TV viewership agency already provides separate urban and rural viewership of some key genres like Hindi GEC and news on its website. Now with pay/FTA reporting, the general public will get a clearer picture of leadership positions of channels in these two markets which have become more distinct after TRAI's tariff order implementation.
As the DD Free Dish is becoming popular, FTA viewership is now a sizable chunk. BARC's new step to segregate pay and FTA channels is a positive one, and is bound to be welcomed by the industry, in particular, broadcasters.
The new format of reporting will commence from week 27.