Republic TV, 2 other channels being probed for TRP manipulation: Mumbai police

Updated: 08 October, 2020 17:51 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

The owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema have been arrested. Promoters, directors, advertisers, CFO and other employees of Republic TV will be summoned for questioning

Photo used for representational purpose. Pic/iStock
Photo used for representational purpose. Pic/iStock

The Mumbai police on Thursday said that three channels - Republic TV, Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema – are being investigated for manipulating the Television Ratings Points (TRP).

The owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema have been arrested. Promoters, directors, advertisers, CFO and other employees of Republic TV will be summoned for questioning.

Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh said the Detection Crime Branch busted a racket that is involved in fraudulently manipulating TRP and the bank accounts of the channels would be investigated. “We will also investigate the funds they receive from advertisers and whether they are from the proceeds of crimes. If any crime was revealed, the accounts would be seized and more action would be taken,” Singh said.

“Household data were used by the channels for ratings manipulation and they received illegal advertising funds. This will be considered proceeds of cheating," added Singh.

On a complaint, the Crime Branch had nabbed a person from Malad. In the preliminary inquiry, he revealed that he had been working for a company, which is part of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

An offence has been registered at Kandivli police station in this regard. The arrested accused persons were produced before the court and they have been remanded to Crime Branch custody till October 9.

Several teams have been sent to various states to nab the absconding accused persons. “Certain witnesses have come forward stating that they were induced by the arrested accused persons and their accomplices for a monthly monetary benefit,” the Mumbai police said.

One of the arrested accused and some of the wanted accused persons were employees of Fansa Research Group Pvt Ltd and they have misused the confidential data which had been entrusted to them.

“It has apparently been done for wrongful gains of various TV channels, which had resulted in a loss to various advertisers and their agencies. Preliminary investigations also revealed that these accused persons have manipulated the sampling metering services by paying the barometer users periodically to watch particular channels. Many of the people, in whose homes these barometers are installed, have confessed of receiving monetary benefits for keeping their TV sets on,” added the police.

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.

“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.

BARC, an organisation which functions under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has installed approximately 30,000 barometers in various parts of India that monitor various programmes. Based on the statistical metrics, BARC awards ratings to TV channels.

Manipulated TRP ratings adversely result in miscalculated targeted audience for the advertisers, which further results in loss of hundreds of crores of rupees.

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First Published: 08 October, 2020 16:44 IST

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