Over the last few months, there has been massive debate about TV coverage of various topics, with many alleging that there was a rising level of toxicity that was being promoted. This seems to have reached a tipping point amid the recent fake TRP scandal. Reportedly, two companies have now announced their intent to blacklist certain channels.
TRP or target rating point is a metric used in marketing and advertising agencies to ensure that their content reaches the relevant audience. This is measured using devices attached to the TV sets of a sample of viewers to measure impressions. A few days ago, the Mumbai Police had said that they had busted a major TRP manipulation scheme by at least three TV channels and nabbed four people. Mumbai Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh had named Republic TV and two smaller TV channels - Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema - in his press conference. Since then, the Crime Branch has questioned Republic TV's CEO Vikas Khanchandani and others.
Keep in mind that Republic TV has dominated the English news segment for many weeks, and as such is likely to enjoy popularity with advertisers.
The allegations of fake TRP however appear to have spooked companies. Days after Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj told CNBC TV18 that his company had blacklisted three channels as they did not want to be associated with "anything we feel is a source of toxicity in the society", Parle has followed suit.
As per a Livemint report, Parle Products has decided that the company will not advertise on news channels that broadcast toxic content. The report quotes Krishnarao Buddha the Senior Category Head of Marketing at Parle Products to say that the company is also exploring possibilities that would see other advertisers come together to create a restrain that would in turn prompt channels to improve their content.
"We are exploring possibilities wherein other advertisers can come together and sort of put a restraint on their advertising spends on news channels, so that there is some sort of a clear signal to all the news channels, that they better change their content," he was quoted as saying.
It must be noted that these companies have not specifically announced a boycott of Republic TV. At the same time, many others appear to have adopted a 'wait and watch' stance, citing the ongoing investigation. Republic TV for their part has denied all such allegations.