TRP manipulation spread in the entire state

A tele-serial producer and four others have been arrested for reportedly manipulating Television Rating Points (TRPs) using certain equipment for financial gains.

The suspects are Raju, a producer, Madhu, Suresh, Jemsy and Subhash, said the police.

The BARC installs TRP panel meters at select few houses in a locality to get feedback from the audience to various programmes. The feedback helps ascertain the programme getting the extent of viewership.

The BARC has given a contract to a firm in Shanthinagar to ascertain TRP of programmes aired by various channels.

According to the police, the suspects managed to get locations of TRP panel meters, reportedly with the help of insiders from the firm. Later, they replaced such meters with the equipment they had procured to manipulate the TRP data.

The suspects even bribed residents in certain localities to watch specific programmes and reality shows so that specific programmes got maximum viewership, said the police.

The suspects offered residents money and gifts. On special days, the audiences were giving double the money.

The suspects even paid between Rs 10,000 to 25,000 per month, besides home appliances to owners of houses where panel meters were installed, added the police.

The suspects approached producers and got money promising maximum TRP for programmes produced by them (producers).

According to the police, the manipulated TRP data affected business prospects of companies that placed advertisements based on the data.

The advertisers were under the impression that their products were viewed by a maximum audience which was not the case.

The police suspected that members of the racket were active in Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Belagavi.

Senior officers at the BARC noticed through the central server that a particular programme was getting maximum TRP from several localities.

They smelt foul play and investigated. A BARC team collected data from every house which revealed the fraud. A representative approached the cyber crime police and lodged a complaint.
DH News Service

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