TRP Scam bursts out. How to stop fraud in TV ratings?

TRP scam, written by PGurus about 30 months back, finally comes out into the open with an FIR

TRP scam, written by PGurus about 30 months back, finally comes out into the open with an FIR
TRP scam, written by PGurus about 30 months back, finally comes out into the open with an FIR

With Mumbai Police registering a case on the TRP Scam on Thursday, the most well-kept secret of Indian TV channels in manipulating the viewership data is now out in the public domain added with the mudslinging of TV Channels and anchors each other. What comes out in the controversial Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh’s press conference indicting Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV Channel is only the tip of the iceberg in the Indian TV Channel industry amounting to Rs.70,000 crores advertisement spending annually. The last heard is the Mumbai Police FIR also mentions the role of India Today Group also in manipulating the viewership data.

In April 2018, PGurus have detailed this TRP (Television Rating Points) scam and the role of a private agency called BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) in fudging the data in two reports. The first report explained how Star TV India controlled BARC was allowed by the Government to run this rating business by violating guidelines of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)[1]. This report exposed how certain media houses controlled BARC and were fooling India’s advertisers and viewership data fudging. The second report explained how foreign companies indirectly control BARC and violating several norms of the I&B Ministry and TRAI[2].

DISH TV companies like Tata Sky and Airtel can take data of viewership directly from their central control room. The government must authorize these companies to collect data through legislation and must stop the fake purple meter connecting to a few TV sets.

What is TRP Scam?

Now Mumbai Police has registered a case in the lower level of manipulation in the TV ratings. In India, around 40,000 meters known as purple meter are attached to TV sets. These give data on viewership patterns and behaviour. How can a mere 40,000-meter-based-data profile a country like India? According to BARC, another agency Hansa Research Group is handling and collecting data from these 40,000 homes across the country. As per Mumbai Police, a former staffer of Hansa revealed how bribes are given by TV channels to fudge the data collected from homes.

The Modus Operandi is like this. The homes where meters are installed are supposed to be secret. But bribes were given to staffers to identify the homes where meters are installed. So TV channels as well as private serial programme producers approach these homes and bribe them to switch on the channels or programmes. It is a known secret that these homes will be given another TV set by these bribe givers to watch programmes as they wish with a condition that they have to always switch on the TV  and technically view the bribed channels or programmes where the meter is attached. So in effect, these homes get another TV free also apart from the monthly bribes to switch on the meter attached TV set. Apart from shopping coupons, between Rs.5,000 – 10,000 is given to these homes to help manipulate the viewership data.

Above mentioned is only a grass root level fraud. So, think of the big manipulation in viewership data at the main agency level.

How to stop this fraud

DISH TV companies like Tata Sky and Airtel can take data of viewership directly from their central control room. The government must authorize these companies to collect data through legislation and must stop the fake purple meter connecting to a few TV sets. I and B Ministry and TRAI must sit together to evolve a new scientific system.

References:

[1] TRAI Scam: How UPA Government manipulated rules to favour BARC to mint money of Rs.70,000 crore businesses annuallyApr 20, 2018, PGurus.com

[2] TRP Scam: Data fudging or leakages by totally foreign companies-controlled TRP rating agency BARC? Apr 22, 2018, PGurus.com

14 COMMENTS

  1. Sir,
    Since you are a team of experts, I feel it would be helpful after analysing the news items, you give at least two alternate solutions. Let readers give their views on the proposed solutions. Why at least two solutions? It helps in being objective.
    Let’s be solution minded. Not just dance around the problems.

  2. Sorry to say this time Pgurus is wrong in selecting its news headline indirectly happy to see Arnab of Republic TV in the dock on whom entire Maha Govt is after him!!! He alone is fighting with his viewers support on the mighty governmental machinery and certain media crooks!! Editors Guild of India too might be too docile and corrupt!

    This TRP privilege was enjoyed by NDTV for more than a decade! Even to this day still goes on broadcasting foul news. Scams by Journos have become hall mark! Half a decade ago Sree Iyer penned two books on NDTV scam!!! What is the result? PM Modi is clueless!

    Before the advent of TV or even thereafter we have had TOI and HT fighting all over India in general and New Delhi in particular with regard to their newspapers readership/circulations and started to bring down the price of daily newspaper and lo and behold newspaper was selling price came down to just Rs.1(Ek rupayya)!! During these price wars quite a few ran for covers and folded up! How about the cost of subsidized imported news printing papers? The (anti-)Hindu newspaper survived with its own leftist ideology syndrome…….

    Who will investigate Twitterati accounts and FB followers in millions of this or that person?

    Eleanor Roosevelt had said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

  3. India is a super banana country. There is no respect for constitution i.e. no laws, no enforcement, no administration, 100% crime & 100% corruption. corrupt politicians, corrupt administration. Is this a country ? where nation is looted every day ? Rich are above law, beggars have nothing to follow, middle class is raped & looted. Absolutely no morality, society has died. Indians cannot think straight anything other than corruption & pornography

    • We are living in a super slippery banana country. You could call it is Ambadia or Adania, depending on your perception. It has been Modified to reflect the current state of affairs.
      No doubt the rising of Ambadia was fuelled by the Congress earlier but Adania is solely of Modi’s making
      Of course during Congress days- the term was Indira is India, made famous by D K Barooah.

      To expect something good to happen in this nation led by smell of money is being foolhardy.
      Once you elect your crook your goose is cooked for the next 5 years.

      • “ Rajah Tadha Praja”. Top cream of the crop, elite IAS, IPS, IRS top Bureaucrats who are supposed to direct the nation Collude with the Top Netas who have Unclean record of megaCorruption to their credit. Be it BJP-NDA Regime or Congress-UPA team, they depend on Coprorate, Media and Entertainment Industry honchos and mafia to roll out their unaccounted black money for election campaigns and the evil nexus starts right there. No mega scams were taken up for fast track clearance by courts over the last six years. It is very very easy for foreign powers to meddle and trap greedy Indians to work for their interest. Rahul Gandhi’s election from Wyanad and the Corrupt Karti Chidambaram getting into Parliament is a clear signal that people don’t choose to vote and elect their leaders based on talent, capacity and capability. How can such a country prosper. All media houses are biased and pick their sides to misguide the majority low and middle class population. It is the rule and management of the nation by Corrupt and dishonest Conning Characters.

        • Dr. Venkat Gopalakrishnan, how come RSS failed to do “course corrections” during the past 76 months under its own baby the BJP lead NDA Govt?

  4. Title should be , how to stop frauds in India. Show one field, where fraud doesn’t occur ? Who the hell cares what are TRPs ? The advertisement Cos are smarter, and know which channel to choose. Coming to the present episode, it prove typical crab mentality of Indian TV businesses Who all bunched up to pull down a leading crab, republic. Even TOI who got best TRP when Arnab was with the channel are spitting comments on his behaviour. P Gurus trumpeted about NDTV and other financial frauds, with evidences and what is the result. It will take hundreds of years to convict people in the existing cases. The only mantra is forget past, try to minimise frauds in future.

  5. Our PM is a Pappu and his party continues to name someone else as Pappu. Imcompetent PM couldn’t a thing to root out corruption. He has a majority in the parliament for what? All he has to do is pass a law to have a time bound (6 months) to try all political corrupt cases. Enact a special act and create a dedicated court with enough strength. Problem with our pappu PM is, if does bring in this law, he himself will be the first one to be tried under such law. That is why he is keeping mum. Swamy becomes a FM (which our Pappu is now allowing) will go to the bottom of all corruption our PM has done

  6. Corrupt Finance Ministers, Corrupt Central Bureaucrats at the Top, Corrupt Lobbyists like Neera Raadia working for top Corporates like Tata with no formal closures for years and years on 2-G, Aircel-Maxis, National Herald, Vadra Land deals. NDTV Frauds of money laundering, how can India become a Superhpower when Corrupt to the Core Pucca Chors, are re-elected to go to Parliament. Bad, dirty Nexus of looters across the party lines fooling the poor and middle class of majority Indians. Field day for Dawood Ibrahim, Vijay Malaya, Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi to remain outside India to maim and taunt the common man. Is it not absurd. BJP ruling Govt. is ineffective, impotent and incapable. Modi has no locus standing to go jet set on another whirlwind campaign into Bihar as a crusader against Corruption. Lack of delivery on past poll promises over the last six years. Empty tall talk. Under performance and Unfit.

    • How can he be accountable? Almost 60 years Congress ruled, to clean it, time will be self-explanatory. Every house is influenced one way or other. Recall Harshat Metha share market scam.

      • Sure
        Give your pal more time and there wont be anything left to clean.
        Problem is that your guy appeared to be an angel and after taking power has gone to such lengths as to destroy the very fabric of India while not doing anything to root out corruption but add to it.
        If the guy is unfit you try another or else the rot only continues. You wish to give him the same 60 years!
        The true story of Demo by Namao will break some time and thrown light on him. One has to note that not a single banker, middleman etc are behind bars for their part.

        • The man behind the throne is fully aware that if he touches the hornets nest and convicts people it will be his own downfall and his own conviction.
          His puppet acts according to his instructions.
          Latest I understand with Paswan’s passing away- Reluctance to become a Minister- Its a one way ticket. Examples- Sushma, Arun, Manohar …
          Wonder who is next !

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