How did TV channels probed by police allegedly manage to manipulate TRPs?


Team Udayavani, Oct 9, 2020, 12:34 PM IST

Mumbai Police is probing a few channels for allegedly indulging in manipulating TRPs.

Former employees of insights company Hansa Research were paid by channels to distribute money to the households where barometers were installed for calculating TRPs, police said. Households were asked to keep certain channels switched on throughout the day to show higher TRPs.

The police are looking into a scam about manipulation of TRPs (Television Rating Points) by rigging the devices used by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India, which has the mandate to measure television audience in India.

How does it work?

TRP is a tool to judge which TV programmes are viewed the most and also indicates the viewers’ choice and popularity of a particular channel.

BARC measures TRP by installing barometers in some houses. These are called ‘People’s Meter’ and are connected to their TV sets. This device records for how long different channels or TV programmes are being watched.

As reported by exchange for media, The meter records the channel on which the TV is set, the programmes being played and for how long were the shows watched. This data from all the meters across the country is then compiled over a week and released by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

TRPs are released every Thursday and it documents all TV channels and the programmes running in there.

If broadcasters can find the households where devices are installed, they can either bribe them to watch their channels, or ask cable operators or multi-system operators to ensure their channel is available as the “landing page” when the TV is switched on.

The report further states that Higher the TRP, higher is a channel’s negotiating power with advertisers. With a drop in TRP channels may see an eventual reduction in ad bills.

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