The Mumbai Police on Thursday said it was looking into allegations of TRP manipulation by Republic TV and two other television channels, News18 reported. Two persons allegedly associated with a false TRP racket have been arrested so far, Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said.
Officials of Republic TV, which claims the highest TRPs among news channels, will be summoned either on Friday or Saturday, according to NDTV.
Television Rating Point, or TRP, is a tool provided to judge which programmes are viewed the most. It gives an index of the choice of the people and also the popularity of a particular channel.
“Two people have been arrested in connection with false TRP racket,” Singh said. “The name of Republic channel is coming out in investigation. It’s directors, promoters or employees are likely to be involved. We are in process of investigating them.”
As part of the racket, households were told to keep a certain channel switched on all the time. “Illiterate homes were asked to keep English channels on,” Singh said. “There was false TRP spreading. TRP ratings were being bought. The manipulation was mainly for advertising revenues.”
Singh added that the bank accounts of the channels would be investigated along with the funds they receive from advertisers to ascertain “whether they are from proceeds of crimes”. “If any crime was revealed, the accounts would be seized and more action would be taken,” he said.
The developments came a day after Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar said the present system of TRP-oriented programmes needed a rethink. He said that it was evident that the “avoidable TRP rating has to be stopped or improved”.