TRP, an acronym from Target Rating Point or Television Rating Point, is a measure for a channel’s viewership.
It denotes a section of the audience who are watching the programme, the advertisements or a channel during a particular time frame but is merely a measure for the popularity of a program on television.
It helps media determine the interests of the people, and relate them to the success of their shows.
Relevance of TRP
TRP, Alongside Gross Rating Point (total number of viewers of a program), is crucial for a channel. They help the channel bring in investment in terms of advertisements, as well as decide on their investment.
- For Advertisers – TRP helps advertisers to enhance the popularity of their products. It helps them gain an idea about popular shows, during which they would like to display their ads. This, in turn, would help them reach wider audiences.
- For Content Providers – TRP is a primary measure for content providers to adjust themselves. It helps them know how well their content is doing and how much better they can make it. Higher TRP ensures higher earnings for content providers.
- For Broadcasters – While TRP is an essential suggestion for advertisers to place their ads, it helps broadcasters adjust their charges accordingly as well.
A measure for viewership, it also helps them determine if they’re heading the right way.
Calculating Television Rating Point
It is calculated with the help of a sample audience. It is measured by a People meter attached to the TV sets of the sample thousand viewers, thus keeping track of what they watch and when.
Advantages of TRP
It serves as an obvious measure for advertisers, content providers and broadcasters. This directly places it in great importance. It’s an important determinant of investment policies, broadcasting and application of charges.
Thus, it can very well be seen as an inexcusable measure for viewership on Television.
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Disadvantages of Television Rating Point
TRP carries its apparent disadvantages as well.
- Firstly, it is calculated based on taking a small number of households as their sample. Although this sample is chosen carefully, it cannot correctly represent millions of homes around. This puts the accuracy of TRP as a measure of viewership in apparent jeopardy.
- Secondly, it is only a measure of popularity. It doesn’t indicate anything about the quality of the content. Higher TRP doesn’t guarantee the best of content produced. Henceforth, content providers are often caught up in delivering what is marketable, and sometimes senseless. Quality shows that are progressive or educational, often have this to their disadvantage.
- Another problem has been the tampering of TRP ratings. In the past, several channels have been caught to have paid to earn higher TRP ratings. Such tampering has only pointed out the flaws within the TRP system. Manipulation of TRP ratings recently by the RepublicTV to enhance revenue from advertisements has been one such case.
Arguments Against the Relevance of TRP
Recently, several broadcasting heads have come to critique the importance of TRP. They argue for an improvement in the quality of content on Television and believe that reliance on it has been hindering it.
Last year, Dr N.Bhaskar Rao, Chairman, Centre for Media Studies, said, “It is imperative to maintain a balance between commercial and public interest programs, But TRP plays the role of a villain as measuring viewership has become a benchmark for popularity and all broadcasters have succumbed to this.”
He also said that broadcasters should have public service programs and not just what interests the public. “Broadcasters have an obligation towards society, and this role should not be limited to just Prasar Bharti” he added.”
Taking the argument further, Prof. D.R. Ankur, Director, National School of Drama, said, “The programs on most commercial channels do not depict reality. Their main focus is money and not the public interest.”
K.S. Sarma, CEO, Prasar Bharti, said, “The case with TRPs is that you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.” .
A strong argument was put forward to suggest that it isn’t the sole responsibility of government-funded channels to maintain social programs, rather than commercial ones.
They believed it to be an obliged duty of both publicly and privately funded media alike.
Media’s bent on TRP
TRP’s primary backing comes from media houses which continue to masquerade its importance. They point towards the lack of a secondary measure. A greater priority is based on the business side of things, than the social side.
Thus, it can widely be seen than the debate on the relevance of TRP is an ongoing one. There are pros and cons to both sides. However, it is worth pointing out that its significance remains high.