Fake TRP- Mumbai Police Investigates Republic TV and two more Channels

Mumbai Police Commissioner held a press conference on Thursday (08.10.2020) told the press that they are probing a case involving manipulation of TRPs.

Police Commissioner also named three tv channels Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi who allegedly manipulated the TRPs by skewing the apparatus used by BARC.

The Broadcast Audience Research Council or BARC for short is an organisation that is governed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The organisation claims that it drives the multi-million dollar ad industry by providing sharp insights.

Manipulation of the TRPs causes enormous losses to the advertisers because the viability of advertising is judged based on TRPs of a channel. If the TRPs of any channel is influenced in any way, then it might cause advertisers substantial financial losses.

A TRP of a channel is calculated on the viewership scores of a confidential set of households.

Based on a complaint, a person was arrested from the Malad region of Mumbai. During the interrogation, the person admitted that he was working for a company associated with BARC.

As per the commissioner the accused used to ask the confidential household to run the channels day and night even when no one was present in the house. Many officials of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) are under scrutiny. The accused paid the households where sampling meters were installed and asked them to watch a particular channel which in turn increased the TRPs of the channels. 

The highlights of the commissioners’ statement are as follows.

  • In order to monitor the TRPs, 2000 barometers have been installed in the Mumbai region. A company called Hansa had received confidential contracts by BARC to monitor these barometers. Accused Tv channels used to bribe the confidential households and in return were asked to run their TV channels continuously.
  • They have already arrested two people in the case. One of the accused had 20 lakhs with him while rs .8.5 lakh has been found in the bank locker.
  • Owners of Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi have been arrested by the police and charged under sections 409 and 420 of IPC.
  • In the TRP manipulation probe, Republic TV has been named as a suspect. The commissioner added that this sort of manipulation might be going on across the country.
  • Investigation, in the case, is being led by ACP Shashank and is being supervised by the DCP and JCP.
  • The agency ( Hansa) which was tasked to monitor the barometers has stated that some of their current and ex-employees might be involved in the case.
  • Commissioner of Mumbai Police also added that summons would be issued against the directors of Republic TV including Mr Arnab Goswami.
  • The findings in the case have been shared with the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh reassured the media that the culprits in the case would not be spared.

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