Campaign India Team
Dec 25, 2020

After arrest of former BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta, Mumbai Police states Republic TV data was manipulated in #TRPScam

Republic TV responds by stating that the claims of the Mumbai Police are laughable

After arrest of former BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta, Mumbai Police states Republic TV data was manipulated in #TRPScam
The Mumbai Police held a press conference following the arrest of Partho Dasgupta, former CEO, BARC India, (Broadcast Audience Research Council). Dasgupta has been sent into Police custody, and its the 15th arrest post the outbreak of the #TRPScam in October 2020. He was arrested on 24 December and will be in custody till 28 December. This follows the arrest of the company's former COO Romil Ramgarhia last week (17 December).
 
In the press conference, a spokesperson further revealed that Republic TV's numbers were manipulated as it was made the most viewed English News channel ahead of Times Now. 
 
The spokesperson stated that there were allegations against Dasgupta of manipulating viewership data as well as TRP. The arrest was made after a third-party audit which submitted a report to the Mumbai Police in July 2020. The Police then contacted BARC on different subjects and got a report from them which had the following revelations: 
  • The manipulations were going on from at least 2016 to 2019. They have analysed data of around 44 weeks in detail - especially about English and Telugu news where they found manipulation of data to a huge extent.  
  • The data of 44 weeks beginning mid of 2017 mentions how the viewership and TRP data was manipulated by using three different methods. It mentioned two channels in the report - how Times Now which was placed number one in the English news genre, fell to number two due to manipulation of data which placed Republic TV on number one. 
  • In some of the cases the ratings appeared to be pre-decided and accordingly data was manipulated.
  • The report mentions e-mails and chats between top officials which point towards manipulation. 

Chat excerpts between officials were also revealed which stated that impressions of Times Now were decreased in the universe while Republic TV remained unchanged.

The spokesperson also added that there was manipulation for certain GECs which is also being investigated.

The Mumbai Police started the investigation by registering a FIR on 6 October. Since then it has collected different investigations and the report supports those evidences according to the Mumbai Police's spokesperson.

Republic TV issued a press release following the press conference which stated that Mumbai Police's claims are laughable and shared 19 points to 'destroy the claims made by the Mumbai Police'.
 
1. BARC has on two occasions written emails to Republic dated 17 October, 2020 and 20 November, 2020 saying there was no question of any manipulation by Republic TV. We are annexing the letters of BARC with this press release. 
 
2. The Forensic Report that the Mumbai Police is referring to is from July 2020. BARC’s emails to us are from November and December 2020. It defies common sense why BARC would give Republic Media Network a complete clean chit in November and December. The Mumbai Police should have thought about that. 
 
3. Republic Media Network’s ratings soared high in 2020, after the previous dispensation at BARC moved out. If you look at the data, the viewership increased in the second-half of 2020. Does the Mumbai Police have any explanation for this? Or does it hold the current dispensation at BARC guilty for the viewership of Republic TV.?
 
4. Republic has written over 50 emails to BARC about the use of landing pages by Times Now. We have constantly complained to BARC about Times Now’s use of landing pages across the entire country, in fact, we have been frustrated at the inaction of BARC despite our constant complaints. We are annexing some of our emails along with this press release so that the whole world knows the reality. Will the Mumbai Police now investigation why BARC refused to act on our complaints about the usage of landing pages by Times Now? If not, why not? 
 
5. Republic Bharat became the Number 1 Hindi news channel, following the coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s death case post July 2020, when the new dispensation at BARC had taken over. Does the Mumbai Police claim that the new dispensation at BARC is hand in glove with Republic TV? 
 
6. LIVE Streaming data of both Republic TV and Times Now show that there is a big gap between the high viewership of Republic TV and the much lower viewership of Times now. In its eagerness to please its political masters, does the Mumbai Police also believe that the record viewership of Republic TV has also been manipulated? 
 
7. All TV Channels constantly represent their case with BARC. Not just channels, industry bodies also represent their case or complaints with BARC. Republic TV has complained hundreds of times to BARC about questionable data of other channels. This is absolutely legitimate and we have made similar representations to the current BARC dispensation as well when we had questions about data of other channels. It is absolutely absurd to call this a crime. 
 
8. In August and September 2020, Republic Bharat became the Number 1 Hindi news channel, upsetting older players. On May 6th, when we launched, Republic TV became the number 1 news channel upsetting other legacy channels. This is a function of our popularity and acceptance across the country. 
 
9. For the last 3 months, the Mumbai Police has done everything possible to target our Network, and has fallen flat every time. This ridiculous and bizarre witch hunt was exposed once again today. 
 
10. By their own admission, the Mumbai Police claims but has cleverly has not named the Telugu channels and conveniently kept them out of the press conference. Will they probe that too? If not, why not? 
 
11. In recent days, the Mumbai Police has made absurd allegations by leaking stories about the finances of Republic TV. Every rupee of our investment is in the public domain, and because the Mumbai Police is frustrated at being unable to make any headway, they have reduced this so-called TRP investigation into a Whatsapp investigation. 
 
12. By their own admission, Mumbai Police started by talking about Barometers being fixed. There is evidence that individuals were coerced into falsely implicating Republic. Does the Mumbai Police have an answer for this? 
 
13. The research agency Hansa has filed a Writ Petition in the High Court that the Mumbai Police has tried to put pressure on them to implicate Republic. Will the Mumbai Police investigate itself? Is it not true that the allegations against the Mumbai Police are presently before the Bombay High Court? 
 
14. Is it not an obvious case of absurd political witch-hunting when a city police force is accused in open court of trying to fix a news channel by trying to extract false statements from a reputed private company?
 
15. Is it not true that the NHRC has given a notice to the DGP of Maharashtra to investigate the custodial torture of Republic A-VP Ghanshyam Singh who was beaten with Chakki belt in custody? Is there anything left for the Mumbai Police to do in its desperation to target the Republic Media Network?
 
16. The Mumbai Police has thanked the current BARC dispensation for its help. It is the same BARC dispensation, under whose watch the Republic Media Network has become the Number 1 news network in Hindi and English. By any basic logic, is the Mumbai Police going to investigate the present BARC dispensation as well on how the Network became Number 1? Isn’t it obvious that the Network’s reach continues to grow regardless of who is at the helm at BARC? 
 
17. The present BARC management has written to the Prasar Bharati CEO, who is the Government representative on the BARC board, saying there is absolutely no investigation or manipulation ever by the Republic Media Network since its inception. Does the Mumbai Police acknowledge this letter or does it challenge its authenticity? 
 
18. Arnab Goswami's show on Times Now was the most-watched show at the time. Isn't it obvious that the audience moved with Arnab Goswami to Republic when he left? 
 
19. Mumbai Police claimed that Republic manipulated ratings in 2016. How bizarre is this given that Republic TV did not even exist in 2016?

 

Source:
Campaign India