« A businessman who was one of the founding partners of the AGB television ratings company, which is currently at the heart of a ratings scandal, has said he and his partners were forced to sell the company in the face of pressure from network owners and producers to present ratings for their stations and shows higher than they actually are.
Hilmi Köksal Alişanoğlu, who founded AGB with his partners in 1984, said he faced great pressure from broadcasters. “We resisted for a long time, but it wasn’t enough. When we couldn’t anymore, in 1994, we transferred the company ownership for a meager sum.”
Ratings takers have been in the spotlight since police launched a major investigation into ratings fraud. In the course of the probe, it became evident that some networks had obtained a list of households where ratings measuring devices had been installed and bribed residents to watch their shows in order to manipulate their ratings.
Alişanoğlu, author of “The Communist Businessman” — a humorous book which recounts the author’s memories as a businessman, told Today’s Zaman that networks have been pressuring ratings companies to manipulate viewer ratings for the past 20 years. “There are so many agencies, so many producers involved,” he said, reiterating that this was the only reason he and his partners sold their company.
He also indicated he was sure that AGB had not leaked the identities of families with ratings measuring boxes, noting that producers have been able to acquire lists of households in the ratings program through intimidation for years.
He recalled that a similar incident had taken place earlier. “In 1992, a television network tried to strong arm us because its overall ratings were low. They told us to ‘correct their ratings.’ After a short while, the [then-state-owned telephone and postal company] PTT raided our office and demanded the list. We gave the list to the PTT. However, after a while, the same company started complaining again that their ratings were falling. They said our viewer lists were being leaked and they showed a list that was exactly the same copy we had given the PTT — it had my handwriting on it. We had to suspend ratings measurement operations for that year.”
Alişanoğlu added that the AGB suffered major to its reputation after it was sold in the face of pressure from networks. The businessman detailed in his books the tricks carried out by broadcasters and producers to manipulate their ratings. Alişanoğlu has held managerial positions in various media companies, including Bileşim, Bileşim Media and AGB — three companies he helped establish. »
Source : Today’s Zaman