The Mumbai police crime branch, which unearthed the TRP racket, So far Arnab racketed Sushant Singh Rajput’s death with all sorts of false claims. His channels Republic Bharat was mouthpiece and prime campaigner of Bihar elections. When TRP scam came come, the channel lost its credibility over night. The Mumbai police claimed to have busted a Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation racket. The TRP is a tool to judge which TV programmes are viewed the most as it also indicates viewers’ choice to show the popularity of a particular channel. The Mumbai police crime branch, which unearthed the TRP racket, also arrested two persons, owners of two Marathi channels, for manipulating the viewership ratings. Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said that the Republic TV channel is also involved in the TRP racket and those responsible will be arrested, be it a director, promoter, or any other employee of the channel. Of late, Republic TV has become the number one channel in the country, and this happened because of its highest TRP among the news channels. The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) welcomed the Mumbai Police investigation on fake TRP and said that it is committed to reporting a true picture of television viewership.
“Republic TV will file a criminal defamation case against Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh. There is not a single BARC report that mentions Republic TV. The people of India know the truth. Singh’s investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput case is under a cloud and this is a desperate measure because of Republic TV’s reportage on Palghar, Sushant Singh Rajput case or any other case,” Goswami said in a statement. “This kind of targeting only strengthens the resolve of everyone at Republic TV to push for the truth even harder. Param Bir Singh stands completely exposed today, since BARC has not mentioned Republic in any single complaint. He should issue an official apology and get ready to face us in court,” he added.
Also read: Journalism died in TRP race
Union minister Prakash Javadekar said “The government believes in press freedom but showing “provocative news” for the sake of TRP is not journalism and it must stop, he said after paid news and fake news, this is the era of “TRP journalism”. “There used to be paid news, fake news and now there is TRP journalism. The unnecessary burden of TRP must be stopped by the media. Someday they will have to improve themselves,” the minister said.
A BARC India spokesperson said, “As in all our previous cases of suspected panel homes intrusions, BARC India continues to follow its established vigilance and disciplinary guidelines… BARC India appreciates the efforts of the Mumbai Police and will provide the support asked of it.” It further said that it remains “steadfastly true” to its purpose to accurately and faithfully report “what India watches”.
Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami, managing director and editor-in-chief of Republic Media Network, said Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh has made false allegations against Republic TV because we have questioned him in the Sushant Singh Rajput case investigation.
About 200 million families in India watch the news on TV channels while 100 crore people in our country keep them updated through their smartphones. But the expose of the TRP racket has, no doubt, shaken the faith of crore of people. This racket is similar to gaining fake followers and fake likes on social media. You might have noticed that the news anchor of almost every news channel describes them as number one. The TRP is an intrinsic part of this race to remain at number one because high TRP fetches more ads, which ultimately make a channel successful. The news channel, which has been accused of manipulating TRP, is a Free To Air channel. For watching this channel, you need to pay a subscription fee. You should always keep in mind that when you do not pay money for a product, then you yourself become a product. Your likes and dislikes are auctioned and you are forced to watch one-sided news. On the contrary, Zee News is a paid channel. We also get advertisements, but our advertisements scale is not solely based on the TRP but also on the trust of our viewers. The rate of ads running on that channel is decided on how long a TV channel is watched by the audience.
This is the reason that every TV channel is vying to become number-1. The new system was introduced in the year 2010 to find out what number a particular channel stood in the TRP. Since the credibility of the company which earlier released the TRP was under the scanner, the news agency was created under the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The new agency, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), consists of representatives from channels and Advertisers. It is the world’s largest TRP measuring agency.
The BARC has installed 44,000 barometers across the country to assess the ratings of channels. Of these 44,000 houses, where these barometers are engaged, nearly 1.80 lakh members reside. In a population of 135 crore people, the sample size is merely 0.1 percent or just one man out of 7500. Whatever programmes these 1.80 lakh people watch on the channels become a standard for all the channels to follow. Perhaps, this is the reason that every channel starts showing similar programmes many times. For every channel, TRP is a compulsion as it determines the rate of advertisements. The higher the rating of the channel, the more advertisements it gets. This is why some channels have tried to manipulate this system. When the TRP system started, it did not intend to measure the popularity of a channel among viewers but was established for advertisers. Currently, more than 400 news channels are running across the country. The news shown on these TV channels tries to gain from the current advertisement market of Rs 3,640 crores, while the total advertising market for TV is around Rs 32,000 crores.