Choose Authenticity Over TRPs

TELEVISION RATING POINT (TRP) is an instrument and method provided to judge which programs or channels are watched the most by people in different geographical and demographic sectors. TRP (Television Rating Point) gives us an index of the choice of the people and is consequently used to decide the popularity of a particular program or channel. This also helps advertisers decide when and where to advertise.

For calculation purposes, a device called Peoples meter is attached to the TV set for a few thousand viewers. It records the time and the programme that a viewer watches on a particular day or at a particular time. Then, the average is taken for a 30-day period which gives the viewership status for a particular television channel. This method is resembles the method used in exit polls during elections.

This whole process, however, is managed by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India. This body updates the position and list of channels in every section, weekly.

The fundamental question which comes to everybody’s mind is: whether this process gives the exact stance of viewers or can TRP process be doctored?

The answer being that this process can be distorted easily as people’s meter are attached to TV sets of a few thousand viewers and the choice of those negligible viewers cannot be taken as the opinion of people at large.

TRP’s are pregnable and can be easily manipulated; the only requisite being money. There are different ways to maneuver opinions and inflate TRPs. For instance, getting information about the locations of peoples meters in an area or by influencing or giving incentives to TV owners for making their TV habits favor a few channels.  The method is also distorted by paying money to cable operators to keep their channel as base channel and once the TV is put on by the cable viewers their particular channel unwillingly will be shown for 20 to 30 seconds. Another tactic used by various channels is to broadcast these channel at multiple frequencies.

Manipulating tactics for inflating TRPs is not new. However, due to the recent F.I.R launched by Mumbai police against certain channels for maligning TRPs, the issue became the talk of the town.

To save oneself from the TRP games, one must simply choose authenticity over TRPs (Television Rating Point). As we know now, the TRP method is an outdated and easily manipulated process. In fact, big corporates should take the initiative to realign their marketing strategies wherein TRPs are not taken to be the fundamental forces for advertising.  New sources which reveal the exact viewership should be considered. This includes, website visits, distribution, shares, online engagement, app downloads and the likes of it.

Hilal Manzoor

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