Expectedly, the anonymous circulation of a confidential list of sample homes tapped for television ratings have got broadcasters and advertising agencies and the research agencies worried. Some senior industry voices showed concern about the selective leak of data. The broadcasters and advertising agencies are of the opinion that it doesn't necessary result in tampering of household meter.
The research agency has yet to come across concrete evidence that such tampering has been done. L V Krishnan, CEO TAM, said, "We are an agency of an international repute and such rumours cannot be tolerated. The agency will investigate into this leak, within the agency and outside and take corrective measure to bring back credibility of the report, which may include a change in the panel."
Broadcasters, however, have expressed concern over the easy availability of the list of sample households in Mumbai of both TAM and INTAM. "It is quite shocking, if it is true, we have to plug the loopholes because the credibility of the currency is at stake," Mr Dasgupta of SET said.
Reacting judiciously to the allegations, research agencies TAM India and ORG-Marg have agreed to replace the panel. TAM India has, in a letter to a broadcaster, reassured that "as a matter of abundant caution, we are proposing to completely revamp the panel."
Assuring the broadcasters and agencies, LV Krishnan said in an interview with CNBC India, that there is nothing to fear as far as broadcasters and advertising agencies are concerned. He has assured that the credibility will be maintained as there is no evidence of data tampering. He plans to work hand in hand with broadcasters and ad agencies to remove the misconception that has arisen due to this so-called leak.
Talking to the channel CNBC India, Sam Balsara, Chairman ASCI, said, "It's not a good thing to happen. The TRP ratings are done in 59 cities and a small number of data leaked is in no way going to effect the credibility of TRP ratings or the repute of the research agency."
He is of the opinion that somebody is trying to make a mountain out of a molehill and stressed that he has full confidence in the system. The research agency has to take corrective measures, which should be guided by a technical committee.
Answering to the question put to him by CNBC India, Star India chief executive officer, Peter Mukerjea said, " These data are available to any body at any time at a price from the research agency. The investigation has not shown that any peoplemetre home has alleged of being approached by a channel to influence ratings. He doesn't think there is any problem of any kind and even if there is one, then the research agency has to take corrective measure by revamping the entire panel."
"At the end of it, it's the quality of the programme that is appreciated by the people hence any sort of tampering will only have short term benefits, " says Mukerjea. No body raised any objection about this when Star had low ratings. For the last fifteen months or so Star has constantly had higher ratings and the current event points towards the conspiracy to prove it otherwise.