TRP Scandal: Republic TV's Assistant VP held - the story so far

After alleging Republic Media Network involved in alleged Television Rating Points (TRP) manipulation, the Mumbai police finally arrested a office bearer of Republic TV almost after a month of investigation. The channel's assistant vice president Ghanshyam Singh, 44, was arrested on Tuesday morning. Singh is the 12th person arrested in the case so far.

Singh, a resident of Ghodbunder Road in Thane was arrested around 7.40 am on Tuesday, he will be produced before the court later in the day, said the police. The Republic media has criticised the arrest and called this a brazen misuse of power.

On October 8, Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh claimed to have unearth the alleged case of TRP manipulation and alleged Republic TV involved in TRP manipulation along with several other channels. He also set up Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case in depth.
During the month-long investigation, several others channels came under police radar.

The police have so far arrested owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema channels along with several ex Relationship Managers (RM) of Hansa Research group a market research company hired by Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC) to maintain and fetch viewership data from barometers installed at homes.

According to the police, the relationship managers were paid for rigging of TRP, the accused were involved in a racket of manipulating the sampling metering services, by inducing the barometer users to watch particular TV channels, by paying them periodically. The households were paid Rs 400-500 monthly, to watch a particular channel. There are 2,000 barometers installed in Mumbai to monitor TRPs.

BARC is an organisation under the governance of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). BARC has installed approximately 30,000 barometers in various parts of India which monitor various programmes and based on the statistical metrics, BARC awards ratings to various television channels. Based on these ratings, advertisers pay for their advertisers. Manipulated TRP ratings adversely result in a miscalculated targeted audience for the advertisers.

This results in the loss of hundreds of crores of rupees because of such manipulation and fake TRP statistics, Mumbai Police said. According to Mumbai Police, BARC claims that it powers the Rs 3,32,000 crore Indian television advertising industry by providing sharp insights

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