SSR case expose non-stop and around the clock. It’s alleged that Arnab Goswami has paid off thousands of slum dwellers in Mumbai and other cities to keep their TV sets tuned on Republic TV channels 24 hours a day to boost their TRP ratings which form the basis for securing advertisements.
By Rajan Narayan
THE Mumbai police have filed a case against Republic TV and CEO Arnab Goswami. The CEO and other senior officers of Republic TV are accused of manipulating Television Rating Point (TRP). We need to first understand how the television rating system which reveals which TV channel has the highest viewership and how this is calculated. There is an agency formed by all television broadcasters which acts as a research agency. Like a set of box a sample group are asked to permit an attachment to their television. The attachment shows which channel you watched the most. What Republic and some other Hindi TV channels do and particularly did in the Sushant Singh Rajput case is that they bribed slum dwellers to only watch Republic channels 24×7. They did this in every major city in the country. The slum-dwellers who cooperated were reportedly given on an average Rs10,000 per person per day! The natural result of lakhs of people switching on to Republic TV for 24 hours a day will naturally boost the TRP rating of the television station.
Why is TRP rating important? Just as in the case of newspapers it is the circulation which decides which paper you will advertise in, similarly advertising on television commercial space depends on TRP. To keep the TRP high televisions channels have to come up with new stories every minute if not every second. In the case of the SSR case Republic TV kept inventing new and fresh tidbits. When it ran out of news on the suicide itself it started claiming that Sushant Singh Rajput was a hard core drug addict. It started claiming that Rhea Chakraborty, the main accused in the case, had introduced SSR to drugs. When Republic TV ran out of news on Rhea’s links with Sushant, they diverted the whole controversy to drugs.
Suddenly, a huge team of your reporters landed up in Goa in search of the hotelier who is alleged to have supplied TOP ganja to top stars like Karan Johar, Deepika Padukone who was shooting for Dharma Production’s latest film in Goa. They were all staying in the Country Inn Hotel in Candolim. Subsequently, after the Narcotics Bureau interrogated Deepika Padukone and Karan Johar, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan were all proved innocent of the charges of storing consuming and peddling drugs. These were lies invested by Republic TV to boost their TRP!
Republic TV interestingly has tied up with some major companies close to Narendra Modi who took full advantage of the manipulated TRP.
You may not believe a word that appears on Facebook or Twitter. It is but social media without accountability. If a politician claims that he has a following of a billions on Twitter you should knock off at least eight zeros. The additional followers that the politician claims are actually manipulated. The clicking which registers that somebody is following you is done not by a human being but by a series of robots. You can imagine 20 robots going on clicking at random for 24 hours a day. A new documentary film on the harmful effects of social media on society by Tristan Barris has pulled out neat coin tricks like a magician and has given us a chilling insights on how we’re are being manipulated by Big Tech.
Social Network is not a benevolent organisation meant for the aam aadmi. When the social network allows you to use Facebook to express your views it is not doing it for charity. The allegation has now been accepted that the social network bosses accepted huge sums of money to ensure the victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India and Donald Trump in the United States. Just as in boys groups they talk about “chick bait,” social media specializes in click bait. Many governments have imposed a ban on the malpractices of social media. Google for instance has been lifting news from the world’s most famous paper and carrying it in their Facebook pages. Google has finally agreed to pay publishers for news items and features that they have stolen from magazines and newspapers.
We also need to understand how newspaper readership is manipulated. The government along with the newspaper industry has an agency called the Audit Bureau of Circulation. Every newspaper has to file returns with the ABC on their daily circulation, weekly, monthly and yearly average. The ABC cross checks this with the income declared by newspaper agents. The circulation of a newspaper is calculated only on the basis of revenue earned by the paper. The logic is simple. If Goan Observer is priced at Rs10 and sells 10,000 copies its revenue should be Rs1 lakh. But what big newspapers do is pay newspaper vendors in black money. After deducting a 30-40% by way of their charges for money laundering the agents return the black money officially with a receipt to the newspaper! This feku receipts are shown to the ABC as circulation of the paper. For instance though the TOI claims it is printing 20,000 to 35,000 copies in Goa the actual print order is less than Rs5,000. This is partly because of Covid-19.
The TOI relied entirely on the subscription mode which is implemented through newspaper agents and newspaper delivery boys. The TV channels spread rumours that coronavirus is spread through newspapers. Anyone who is seen the printing of a newspaper will tell you that no human hands are involved in the printing of a publication. It’s full automated operation now. The plates are loaded at one end and the entire folded paper comes out at the other end.
It is ignorant social prejudice to imagine that newspaper delivery boys are less hygienic than a residential society’s watchmen. Just as delivery boys security watchmen and all along the line of retail selling can transmit Covid-19 infection anywhere. I recall MLA Rohan Khaunte telling me that he stopped subscribing to all papers out of fear that his mother will get Covid-19 because of the delivery boy. The risk of the delivery boy getting Covid-29 from Rohan Khaunte who meets so many people daily are much higher than the other way around! Who is more at high risk courtesy whom is very debatable and sooner or later one may find that almost everyone has contacted the infection mild, medium or serious at some point of their day to day living nowadays.
Never believe anything you watch on TV. If the signal Breaking News appears put off the set! Because all the breaking news is merely cooked and rehashed stories to boost TRP. Also never believe anything on Facebook without double checking. The head of Facebook in India
Anikit Desai is a hard core RSS person and has admitted that she encouraged Facebook posts favouring Narendra Modi during the last election for commercial considerations. Go by your own experience. Of all media I will say newspapers are the best because they are registered with the Registrar of Newspapers and you can be taken to court if you publish false or fake news.