Turkish police crack down on TV ratings agency
Thursday 15 Dec 2011
Istanbul police have raided more than 20 locations on allegations of irregularities in the rating measurements for certain channels, Turkish Weekly reports.
Seven suspects were taken into custody yesterday. The suspects were accused of giving gifts to television viewers with measurement devices to keep the ratings of particular shows high.
The raids, which targeted the offices of numerous production firms and the AGB Nielsen company, which measures ratings, were part of an investigation launched following a complaint from the state-owned broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television (TRT).
Allegations of ratings fraud have been frequently raised by TRT since 2008, reports Today’s Zaman.
Last year, the corporation announced that its channels would no longer be included in audience measurements provided by AGB Nielsen Media Research, which has been conducting TV audience research in Turkey since 1989.
A written statement released by the TRT last year noted that while ratings for TRT 1, the corporation’s most-watched channel, rose from the beginning of 2008 through March 2009, they began to fall systematically in April 2009 for no apparent reason. TRT criticised the audience measurement system managed by AGB Nielsen.
TRT General Manager 0brahim ^ahin said the investigation into some production and ratings measurement companies has justified TRT’s claims of fraud in ratings measurement.
Competition in the TV market is very fierce as channels are constantly striving to gain a bigger share of Turkey’s US$1.5-billion TV ad market.