In an interesting development in the latest TRP scam, a man whose home had a “people meter” installed to check viewership has revealed that he used to receive monthly payments to keep the TV on and watch certain channels, reported NDTV.
This came after the Mumbai police announced an investigation against Republic TV and two more channels for manipulation of ratings.
The man is the one of the three witnesses that the police say were bribed by the channels.
During an interview with NDTV, he said that an executive from Bar-o-meter told him that the meter installed at his house would take care of his bills and automatically recharge his DTH platform.
“The executive from Bar-o-meter told me to watch Box Cinema (one of the three channels under investigation). He said I should watch the channel from 2 pm to 4 pm and I would be paid ₹ 500,” he told NDTV.
He added that he never realized that it could be linked to fudging TRPs or Television Rating Points. He did it for two or three years before he stopped as he had to go this village.
Four persons have been arrested, including the owners of Box Channel and Fakt Marathi. They were sent to judicial custody on Friday.
According to Mumbai Police Chief Param Bir Singh, the directors and promoters of Republic TV are currently being investigated.
The “people meters” attached to TV sets are used to measure and assess the viewership of various channels. There are approximately 2000 households that have these meters installed.
According to police, Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) as well private agency Hansa, who installs these meters, had shared evidence that the channels had bribed some households in order to boost ratings.
India Today was also named in the FIR by Mumbai police but Singh clarified that India Today was named by one of the witnesses, but as the probe progressed neither BARC, nor witnesses, nor accused named the channel.
Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami has declined the claims by Mumbai police saying that “not a single BARC report mentions Republic TV.”