Bengaluru: Arrest of four persons, including a television producer couple of days ago by the Cyber police of Bengaluru blew the lid off a racket unheard of before.
In a shocking case, the gang used to install panels onto the television sets to hike the Television Rating Point (TRP). First of its kind case, the gang used to tweak the TRP of certain programmes, causing huge losses to the advertisers, thereby helping the client channels to make huge money.
The accused are TRP Raju, a TV serial producer and Suresh, said to be the kingpins of the racket and Jemsy and Subhash – all residents of Bengaluru.
The gang used to identify houses of their acquaintances and the ones that would be gullible to their plot and then install TRP panel meters. This exercise helped the mafia to control the rating of serials of their choice. In some cases, the mafia had also provided multiple TV sets to achieve the target.
Broadcasting Audience Research Council (BARC) institute has installed 2,000 meters in the state through Hamsa Research Group Company, Shanti Nagar in Bengaluru. Among these, around 200 meters are in the houses of the familiar circle of the gang.
For the installment and management of meter, the company has appointed technicians who are paid salary anywhere between Rs. 15000 to Rs.30, 000 per month. They used to install the meters saying that they are set top boxes or boosters and the mafia even used to pay some money to the families that installed the panels.
The CCB officers are collecting information from the houses where meters were installed. Around 40% people didn’t know that such a meter was installed to their TV set.
In some houses, TV was kept ON for 24 hours to increase the TRP of a particular channel. The families informed that the mafia promised to pay the cable, electricity bill and also bring a new TV if the present one was damaged. So, the house owners didn’t mind to keep it ON. These points were given in writing by the families, said police. Based on these fake ratings the channels would demand huge price for the advertisement slots during certain programmes. The companies advertising would suffer losses.
Meanwhile, the first ACMM court has handed over both Raju and Suresh for judicial custody on Thursday.