« The İstanbul Police Department’s Organized Crime Bureau on Wednesday 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 – special boxes hooked up to televisions for ratings measurements – were leaked to several television stations.
The names of those detained – some of whom are company owners – had not been revealed by the time Today’s Zaman went to print. Police said searches in the offices and houses of the owners of these companies continue and number of those detained could increase.
Police seized dozens of hard disks, five mobile phones and many digital documents during the searches. Allegations of ratings fraud were frequently raised by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) beginning in 2008.
Last year, the corporation announced that its channels will 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 criticized the audience measurement system managed by AGB Nielsen.
Speaking to Cihan news agency, TRT General Manager İbrahim Şahin said the investigation into some production and ratings measurement companies has justified the TRT’s claims of fraud in ratings measurement.
“We talked about the ratings fraud three years ago for which the judiciary has taken action today. Time has showed that the allegations we brought forward three years ago are all true,” said Şahin.
He recalled that some circles found the TRT’s allegations three years ago about the ratings system ungrounded, however, they have turned out to be mistaken.
“Our claim was that the ratings system in Turkey is wrong. After the Competition Board, the prosecutor’s office, the judiciary and the police saw this fraud, I really wonder what people who have strongly defended the ratings measurement in Turkey think today. Will they offer an apology to the people?” asked Şahin. »
Source : Today’s Zaman