Why the Roots of the TRP ‘Scam’ Go Deeper & Wider Than We Know

Mumbai Police, on 8 October, named Republic TV as an accused in rigging the TRP meters and bribing households.

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In the context of television in India, three letters – TRP – have gained a rather dubious reputation over the years. Television Rating Points or TRP was often synonymous with a compromise in the quality of television content.

However, since Mumbai Police’s press conference, which named Republic TV as having tampered with TRP measurement system, the news has touched a raw nerve among the news channels.

As the nation wanted to know what exactly the whole controversy was, primetime debates across channels had a variety of answers – a “scam”, “scandal”, “dhokha”, “cheating”, “saazish”, “fraud”,  “racket”, “chori” and “vishwasghaat”.

However, while Republic TV’s CFO S Sundaram skipped a summon by the police on Saturday, citing a pending petition before the Supreme Court, news channels have framed this as an issue of one bad apple ruining the basket.

Media veterans explain why it is a much deeper issue pertaining to the entire news industry with political, social and economic implications.

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