TRP manipulation case: What has happened so far
Several television news channels were accused of tampering with television rating points (TRPs) by the Mumbai Police on Thursday. The police claimed they busted a TRP manipulation racket following a probe initiated after a complaint by TV viewership measurement agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).
“Republic TV and two other local Mumbai channels have been found guilty of manipulating the crucial data,” said Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
TRP, a tool to judge which TV programmes are viewed the most, indicates the popularity of a particular channel.
Here is a look at all that has happened in the case:
• Rating agency Hansa Services Private Limited, a contractor of BARC, which functions under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) filed a complaint with the Mumbai police, alleging that some TV channels were manipulating their TRPs.
• The complainant firm said that the manipulated TRP ratings resulted in miscalculated targeted audience for the advertisers, which in turn resulted into losses of hundreds of crores of rupees because of the manipulated statistics of TRP.
• Two TV channel owners were arrested by the Mumbai police and directors promoters of the third channel - Republic TV - were investigated.
• Chief financial officer (CFO) of Republic TV, Shiva Sundaram, the founder, chairman and managing director of Madison World, Sam Balsara, and the CEO of IPG Mediabrands, Shashi Sinha were called by the police for questioning in the case on Friday. Sinha and Balsara, both top media planners and buyers, have likely been called as experts.
• A former executive for Hansa Research, responsible for running BARC’s audience measurement service, was arrested on Thursday, police said. Rs 20 lakh were recovered from his residence. Three others, including two owners of small local channels, were also arrested.
• Upon interrogation, the arrested revealed that they were paid by certain channels to distribute Rs 400 to Rs 500 for per month to households for keeping their channels on throughout the day.
• “People not familiar with English were also found staring at the television sets with the English channels on,” the Mumbai police commissioner said.
• Republic TV has, however, issued a statement saying, “Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh has made false allegations against Republic TV because we questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation.” Owner Arnab Goswami also said he will take legal action against Singh.
• It also showed on its channel a copy of the FIR that names India Today TV and not Republic TV. According to the channel, it was being targeted for its pursuit of the Sushant Singh Rajput death case.