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CBI takes over probe into TRP scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the probe into a case of alleged manipulation in the Television Rating Points (TRP), following a reference from the Uttar Pradesh government.

The FIR was initially registered against unknown persons at the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow on October 17, based on a complaint from the regional director of an advertising company.

The complainant alleged that unknown accused persons had entered into a conspiracy to commit cheating, criminal breach of trust and forgery to make wrongful gains by tampering with the TRP ratings.

The process of calculating TRP ratings is monitored by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC). Over 550 channels are currently monitored by the body through the bar-o-meters installed in more than 40,000 households in different parts of the country.

Stating that the identity of households where such instruments were installed had to be kept confidential, the complainant alleged that unknown accused persons deliberately leaked the details of such households to ensure that the instruments installed to measure the ratings could be tampered with.

He alleged that people in such households were incentivised by financial and other means to ensure that they watched a particular channel or programme to increase its ratings.

The complainant said that advertisers often took decisions to spend huge amounts of money for placing their advertisements on a particular channel or programme based on TRP ratings.

The TRP system measures the popularity of TV channels or programmes, using bar-o-meters that captures watermarks embedded in the audio signals of TV channel transmissions to identify the channel being watched, according to the BARC.

The Hazratganj case was lodged days after the Mumbai police registered a similar FIR involving three TV channels.​

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 3:07:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-takes-over-probe-into-trp-scam/article32904828.ece

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