Author: Shivani Sharma
Student of Information Science Engineering, BMS Institute of Technology & Management, Bengaluru
TRP an abbreviation for Television Rating Point that we have often heard while watching television. The anchor of the TV program that gives latest updates, behind the scene shots, and other snippets of TV programs, creates a buzz around that an XYZ show lost its TRP. And since it could not make a comeback, so the creators decided to take the show off air prematurely. They keep presenting TRP figures and how a TV program gained a V-rise in TRPs, which led to it being the No. 1 show from being ranked 10th in the list of top shows. But what is this TRP?
TRP is nothing but a parameter that specifies the popularity of a TV program or a channel among the audience. It states that for how long a channel will stay in the market, for how long it will continue to delight its audience, for how long the advertisers, investors, creators will keep making money from this business. It not only dominates the world of TV serials or reality shows, but it has also strengthened its roots in the news world. Which is evident by their marketing as countries No. 1 channel and a comprehensive comparison of their vision and mission with other news channels.
This untitled and unnoticed competition has established a business of fake, reckless publishing of only exclusive - breaking news. For instance, the recent news on Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case. This case has been exploited from the beginning and every media channel has been taking advantage to form this. By extracting call records from their sources and coming to conclusions by call times and several calls made. Every day there is a new angle added to this case. And the addition of the drug angle has created a golden opportunity for every channel to increase their popularity and ultimately raise their TRP.
World wide spread of coronavirus (or COVID-19) and the following lockdown had refrained their quantity, quality and kind of news to be published. Since the entertainment channels weren’t producing anything new and spicy therefore many news channels decided to take the profit out of it. Like Aaj Tak started a show named “Baithe Baithe Karna Hai Kuch Kaam!”. Where news anchor played antakshari with their audience and with their colleagues as well. Definitely, a correct decision as it helped the channel to be on top among all.
The war ignited by news channels among the news channels for TRP had been won by Aaj Tak for a longer time. But this war occupied a predominant position in favour of Republic TV in the recent TRP tallies. And this all happened because of the Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case. Where Aaj Tak played an injudicious trick of interviewing Rhea Chakraborty, the main suspect in this death case. They aimed to attain good marketability but later faced a lot of criticism by not just the viewers but by the fellow channels as well. They were severely trolled on every social media platform. To clarify themselves they stated they as a responsible and unbiased news channel, they wanted to put forward both sides. But none of the statements was enough to switch the created hatred back to support of viewers as it was too little and too late. Now the ball was definitely not in their court. Utilising the chance every other channel pointed their finger at Aaj Tak but none accused Aaj Tak as harshly and directly as Republic TV did. Which helped it to build its place among the viewers emotionally stronger than any channel. And thus, in recent Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC India) tallies Republic TV was at the top.
Amidst this clear win results what we were seeing in News was just “Will justice be served in SSR death case?”, “Sushant’s close friend revealed the truth”, “Who is the reason behind SSR’s suicide?”, “Was it really a suicide?”, “Sushant’s family demands CBI investigation!!”, “CBI to find the culprit soon!!”, “Drug angle!!!”, “NCB carries out multiple raids in Mumbai”, “Rhea’s brother arrested by NCB!!”, “Rhea after grilling of about 20 hours in 3 days by NCB is now arrested”, “Kangana to expose drug mafia in Bollywood!”, “Kangana Vs Shiv Sena”. Marketing as exclusive and breaking on their channel, where we can see the same news on other channels too with the same marketing tagline. But there were so many other things going around the nation that were not highlighted this much.
India reported 97k + coronavirus cases in just one day. Even if the recovery rate is high, the death rate due to coronavirus is rising too. India faced the highest unemployment rate in 45 years. Counting in them too who lost their jobs because of this pandemic. Price of fuel rose every day and marked the new highest price for fuel in India. The Central government owes thousands of crores to Karnataka in GST compensation. The percentile of students appearing in JEE mains decreased in each city not only because of coronavirus but also because of the flood in many states. The tension is developing daily in the Galwan Valley. And on the top of all news was the news about India entering a phase of recession as GDP fell by -23.9% since April. But neither of it came into the picture on any news channel for even more than an hour. These definitely appeared in those non- stop news bulletins, in an hour debate and sometimes as weekly “Only on our channel !!!” kind of programs. But none could occupy a satisfactory, reliable and a well-acknowledged position as they weren’t “TRP gainer” news.
News is meant to be events that everyone needs to know. Events whether of least popularity or high they have to come in front of the audience. They shouldn’t be manipulated by adding up political angles or spicing it up with what the audience wants rather than what they should get to know. They shouldn’t be exploited by the opinions of anchors as well. Once, Philip L. Graham, American Newsperson had said that “Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” But what history is our media creating? History which states the competition amongst the organisations, the channels working for the same cause i.e. spreading the reality all around. History which presents bias and manipulative news channels. History which shows how they got diverted from their aim to dictate the truth, just to establish a market of their own. The market which runs on the audience and stays till audience and TRP resides with their channel. So even if it is a bitter reality but for sure all that matters is TRP.
Priyanshu Choudhary, What is TRP and how it is Calculated ?? priyanshuchoudhury.blogspot.com (Feb 11, 2019), https://priyanshuchoudhury.blogspot.com/2019/02/what-is-trp.html
Broadcast Audience Research Council, India for TRP statistics, barcindia.co.in (last accessed Sep 13, 2020) https://www.barcindia.co.in/statistic.aspx
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