The Laffaire TRPs for sale has raised a few questions. Even was at the receiving end of an anonymous docket yesterday evening containing the same scandalous details about the two TRP systems  INTAM and TAM - as was received probably by CNBC India and scores of other newspapers and magazines. It was addressed to me with Mumbai as the address; no further details were provided. It was delivered by a well-dressed man who obviously was not a courier but an employee of an agency which was commissioned to deliver the dockets. He disappeared as quickly as he came.

Apparently, an effort was on to disparage the two people meter systems. For reasons known best to the industry. Apparently, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation has been in conversation with the ad agencies and the two research bodies to clean up both INTAM and TAMs acts and the two had been reticient.

Even as little as two months ago when I met up with the CEO of a channel I was told that the ratings game sucked and the two agencies had lots of holes in their ratings modus operandi. And if was really interested in television, we would investigate into the matter and blow the cover off TV ratings in India.

We simply chose not to pursue the issue. Other publications and magazines were also approached; all of them were wary. Because indeed, everyone in industry knows that TV ratings are not perfect; they are simply meant to be an indicator of viewing trends. Today, it is Star Plus which is leading the ratings game and has been doing so for the past year. Two years back it was Zee TV with Sony neck and neck with it. Zee TV was perched atop the ratings pecking order for four years. Before that DD was Lord of all it aired to, if one went by the diary entry method employed by both IMRB and ORG-Marg. Tomorrow, it could well be SABe TV which shoots up there. Or for all you know Sahara TV.

Hence, there was no cause for panic and attempting a tehelka, which may well prove to be a wrong turn. One checked with neighbours; one checked with children, one checked with relatives in smaller towns what they were watching and everywhere one got the response - KBC and KSBKBT or Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki during prime time. All were on Star Plus.

Like was the case with Zee TV, a couple of years ago. And the ratings reflected that. While we did not know whether the numbers were totally accurate; they at least appeared to reflect what individuals told us.

To us laffaire TRPs for sale appeared to be a motivated campaign with a single-point agenda: discredit the ratings and hence create doubts about Star Plus pole position in the viewership ratings sweepstakes.

The documents sent to our office have one attachment which purportedly explains how Star and Balaji Telefilms manipulate the ratings.

Who stands to benefit if the two are discredited? The other big two: Sony and Zee TV. While the rival channels may roast us for stating this so blatantly, they cannot run away from the fact that they have to focus on the basics: improve their programming; give shows that viewers want and not what advertisers or CEOs friends want to supply. Focus on the basics; focus on the viewer.

There is a lot of talk doing the rounds in the television industry as to the possible movers behind all this and they need to be mentioned.

One possibility is that the two rivals got together on the discredit TRPs campaign. After all my enemy is your enemy; so we are friends. Zee TV supplied the list; Sony Entertainment used CNBC to stoke the controversy. After all CNBC is part of the Sony bouquet and has the right SEC audience; blowing the issue on Zee News made little sense; on CNBC it made eminent sense.

Another is that VNU - the parent of both the systems - could have been behind the campaign. Create a controversy and then go ahead and merge the two systems, with least opposition from reluctant professionals of the two research agencies who want to keep both of them existant.

The third possibility is that the reporter from CNBC stumbled on the story on her own; got clearance from her boss and the others just rode it happily giving vent to their spleen; and capitalised on the controversy.

Whatever, be the origins of LAffaire TRPs for Sale, it will result in a new sample; better security of the peoplemeters and the list (you mean no one will be able to get a copy of the list of the viewership sample in future??? ) The purging of Intam and Tam. Who knows a merger, possibly. A more streamlined system.

The fact is: not one person from the Mumbai sample interviewed on CNBC agreed that there was any interference or coercion from any of the channels to influence them as they went about watching television daily. So whats the storm all about?

And if at the end of all the cleaning up and expense - which will finally be borne by the cable and satellite television industry, ad agencies and marketers - would it not be funny if the meters start spewing out similar viewership numbers as are available today? Has anyone given a thought to that.

Latest Reads
Balaji Telefilms' Ekta Kapoor foregoes one-year salary for workers

MUMBAI: Balaji Telefilms joint managing director and creative head Ekta Kapoor will give up her one-year salary, Rs 2.5 crore, to ensure that her workers will not suffer due to the ongoing lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a social media post she announced that she is doing this so that...

Television Production House Film Production
Asianet to air Walt Disney movies

MUMBAI: Leading GEC in Kerala Asianet is all set to telecast Walt Disney’s all-time great movies from 4 April. Walt Disney Movie Fest will be aired every Saturday and Sunday at 12 noon. The list of world-famous Hollywood titles scheduled for airing in Walt Disney Fest includes: The Jungle Book,...

Television TV Channels Regional
News channels report highest ever viewership gain in week 12 post lockdown

MUMBAI: The overall news genre has reported the highest ever weekly viewership so far this year in the week 12 (21-27 March) of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India as compared to the previous week (14-20 March), courtesy the lockdown. In the current week, the Hindi news channels'...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Broadcaster trio commits $50 mn of ad inventory to promote vital public health messages

MUMBAI: Three of the world’s biggest international broadcasters have come together to donate free airtime to public health bodies for the promotion of messages to combat the global coronavirus health crisis.  BBC Global News, CNN International and Euronews have committed a combined inventory worth...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Cannes Lions 2020 Cancelled

MUMBAI: Cannes Lions today announced that the annual Festival of Creativity will not take place in October as previously planned. The next edition of the Festival will run June 21-25, 2021, said a Cannes Lions statement.

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Can’t gag media to fight pandemic: Editors Guild of India

The Editors Guild of India in a letter has expressed its reservations against the government for holding the media responsible in the supreme court for creating panic in the country amid coronavirus pandemic.

Television TV Channels Viewership
COVID-19 boon: News channels show 300% viewership growth

The lockdown amid COVID-19 may adversely impact businesses, but it has helped the television industry, especially the news segment, to achieve a new high in terms of viewership, says a report released by Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) and Nielsen on crisis consumption.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Discovery garners 89% genre share on premiere of 'Into The Wild with Bear Grylls & Superstar Rajinikanth'

MUMBAI: Discovery channel's premiere of Into The Wild with Bear Grylls & superstar Rajinikanth has created a record after the historic high touched by Man Vs Wild with Bear Grylls & PM Modi. According to channel, the premiere on Discovery Network (across 12 Discovery channels) delivered...

Television TV Channels Specialised and Niche
WarnerMedia names Jason Kilar as CEO

MUMBAI: WarmerMedia has announced that media, entertainment and technology executive Jason Kilar will be its new CEO, effective 1 May. He will report to AT&T president and chief operating officer John Stankey.

Television TV Channels GECs

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required