« Another TV rating scandal hits sector » – Hürriyet Daily News

Confidence in TV ratings sector is faltering as an another TV ratings agency has failed to keep identities of its respondents a secret, an investigation reveals. Souce : Hürriyet

« Turkey’s TV ratings sector is facing a new scandal as a fresh inspection reveals that TNS, the latest rating agency, may have failed to keep the names of its respondents a secret.

In December 2011, the Istanbul Üsküdar Prosecutor’s office launched a case against television rating agencies, finding that production companies had paid respondents to vote in favor of the television programs of their choice. The police raided AGB and several other production companies at the time, and the Turkish Television Viewing Research Committee (TİAK) ended its contract with AGB, to sign a new contract with TNS.

TNS received a list of 100,000 respondents from the Turkish Statistical Institute and outsourced the actual survey distribution to five different intermediary companies. TİAK then chose Marmara University to oversee that the respondent pool was chosen in a healthy fashion.

However, in its March-April report, Marmara University found that the respondents were not chosen in the appropriate fashion and that some respondents either did not complete or inaccurately answered the survey questions, or that their addresses did not match their profiles. The university also found that the surveys could have been leaked after being completed, and were not destroyed as required to protect confidentiality. »

Sourc : Hürriyet Daily News

« Previous ratings-fraud probes were covered up  » – Today’s Zaman

The police raided the offices of several production and ratings-measurement companies and detained five people in a ratings-fraud probe on Nov. 14. (Photo: AA, source : Today's Zaman)

« A recent probe into allegations that some TV producers bribed viewers to manipulate TV ratings — after a confidential list that included details about families given devices to measure ratings was leaked — has shown that previous allegations regarding ratings fraud were neglected by the Kadıköy Public Prosecutor’s office.

The investigation into ratings fraud that is being conducted by Akif Özgün, the Üsküdar public prosecutor, has revealed some details about former allegations of ratings fraud that have been neglected by the Kadıköy Public Prosecutor’s Office. According to this, an investigation was launched in 2009 by the office into allegations put forward by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) against Craig Johnson, the general manager of AGB Nielsen Media Research (Turkey), which measures TV ratings; AGB inspector Uğur Çağlı; and the Television Audience Research Committee (TİAK) Chairman Ömer Hıfzı Kayalıoğlu, accusing them of leaking lists that included the identities and addresses of people whose homes have People Meters, or special boxes hooked up to televisions for ratings measurements.

Kadıköy public prosecutor Ömer Faruk Alpaslan dismissed the investigation, after which TRT appealed this decision at the Kadıköy 4th Criminal Court of First Instance, which overturned the prosecution’s dismissal of the case, and a case was filed. The indictment of the case stated that “it was revealed that the suspects, by leaking the names and addresses of families whose homes have people meters to some individuals and organizations, have revealed commercial secrets,” but the three suspects were acquitted by the court on March 8, 2011.

Apart from the case in Kadıköy, there was another investigation into similar allegations by the İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office that was launched in 2009. Producer Selçuk Çobanoğlu was accused of having a list of people who have people meters in their homes, and it was claimed that he took this list from AGB Production Director Hilmi Berköz. Çobanoğlu testified to the prosecution about these claims. It was also revealed that the İzmir public prosecutor also interrogated some families with People Meters, and the families said in the interrogations that Çobanoğlu called them and offered them money in order to watch certain TV programs. Completing all questioning, the İzmir public prosecution transferred the case file to the Kadıköy Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2010. The Kadıköy prosecutor at that time, Mufit Büyükçolpan, declared he would proceed no further with the investigation. Although the decision was appealed, no case has been filed on this investigation by the Kadıköy Public Prosecutor’s Office.

These two investigations into allegations of ratings fraud that were neglected by the same prosecutor’s office have aroused suspicions about whether the judicial process was manipulated by certain individuals.

The İstanbul Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau on Dec. 14, 2011, raided the offices of several production and ratings-measurement companies and detained three people over claims that they were involved in ratings fraud.

Offices of the AGB Nielsen company, the www.uçankuş.com, Ay Yapım (Productions), Med Yapım and Tims Yapım and the houses of company owners were raided by police officers from the Organized Crime Bureau over claims alleging that lists with the names of families whose homes have People Meters leaked to several television stations.

Police seized dozens of hard disks, five mobile phones and many digital documents during the searches. Allegations of ratings fraud were frequently raised by TRT beginning in 2008.

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. »

Source : Bürşa Erdal, Today’s Zaman

« TRT likely to fill eight-month gap for ratings measurements  » – Today’s Zaman

 » President of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) İbrahim Şahin has said the TRT is likely to measure TV ratings for eight months until rating-measurement company Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) has established its own system.

The Television Audience Research Committee (TİAK) earlier announced that it is severing its agreement with the rating-measurement company AGB Nielsen in a move that has plunged the future of television ratings in Turkey into uncertainty. In a recent rating-fraud scandal, which has shaken the Turkish television world, TİAK terminated its contract with AGB, an international company that measures over 40 percent of the world’s TV viewing behavior, following a revelation that the company had leaked a confidential list that included details of families who had been bribed to manipulate TV ratings.

In an interview with Today’s Zaman, Şahin said the TRT authorities will convene with TİAK President Hidayet Karaca next week. It is likely that the TRT will be given the task of measuring ratings as a result of the meeting because there is no immediate solution as to who will measure the ratings at the moment. TİAK has an existing contract with TNS to begin working in September 2012 and the company is not expected to take over the task sooner.

Not measuring ratings during eight months portends financial damage for both companies that advertise and broadcasters as well, Şahin said. While stating that the TRT was offered the job, Şahin continued: “They [TİAK] can get through this eight-month period, which if it wasn’t for TRT they wouldn’t receive any data regarding TV ratings in this time. They are most likely to decide on such a solution. Otherwise how can companies that want to advertise make decisions?” Şahin said rating measurements might be conducted through rating measurement company SBT Analiz, which the TRT works in cooperation with.

Şahin said the TRT has been a member of TİAK since the committee was granted status of a legal entity, yet the TRT has put a special condition on their agreement to pave the way for getting their own ratings measured. “But we want this job to be maintained by one body. This can be done. Two companies [rating-measurement companies] can be managed with one hand. That also ensures a crosscheck. Then we can have a reliable measurement. This system is not common in the world but there are places who apply it,” he added. »

Source : Today’s Zaman

« TV ratings suspended as TİAK seek alternative » – Today’s Zaman

Source : Today's Zaman

« The Television Audience Research Committee (TİAK) has announced that it is severing its agreement with the rating-measurement company AGB Nielsen in a move that has plunged the future of television ratings in Turkey into uncertainty.

In the latest twist in the rating-fraud scandal, which has shaken the Turkish television world, TİAK terminated its contract with AGB, an international company that measures over 40 percent of the world’s TV viewing behavior, following the revelation that the company had leaked a confidential list that included details of families who had been bribed to manipulate TV ratings.

With no immediate solution on the horizon, TİAK is looking to enter into negotiations with Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), with whom it has an existing contract to begin working in September 2012, as to the possibility of putting the contract into effect sooner than planned.

Speaking about what the future holds for the calculation of TV ratings in Turkey, TİAK General Manager Dursun Güleryüz said the company requires a short period to make decisions regarding future partnerships: “We are currently trying to bring forward the date with which we begin working with TNS. At the moment it is a little ambiguous, but we will make a firm decision at a TİAK board of directors meeting next week,” adding that the company’s foremost aim was to ensure that the sector did not suffer damage and that the situation could be rectified in a reliable and trustworthy way.

Despite the uncertainty of the situation and the fact that ratings will not be carried out for the next few months, TİAK President Hidayet Karaca maintained that TV channels and all the parties involved would not suffer any drawbacks. “Ratings are very important because of course they directly affect the proportion of advertising that a channel gets. This has been a problem that has been lingering over the sector for several years now; but as of Dec. 20 we have decided to cut our ties with AGB, and next week we will get together with advertising agencies and production companies and together decide about the plan for the future,” he said. »

Source : Today’s Zaman