TV ratings may go blank as firm stops measuring

TV ratings may go blank as firm stops measuring

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
TV ratings may go blank as firm stops measuring

The ratings for Turkey’s most popular TV series, including ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ (‘Magnificient Century’), will not be available for some time after the AGB’s decision.

The future of television ratings in Turkey has plunged into uncertainty, as AGB Nielsen Company that used to conduct the measurements announced their withdrawal yesterday, hours after the Television Watching Monitoring Committee (TİAK) terminated its contract with the company, following a major fraud scandal. 

“The reliability of the measurement system that constituted the basis for the distribution of advertisements and conducted by [AGB Nielsen Company] has ceased to be,” said the statement issued by the TİAK’s chief executive Dr. Hidayet Karaca. In the latest twist regarding the television fraud scandal that erupted last week, the TİAK pulled out of its contract with AGB Nielsen, after it turned out that the addresses of over 1,000 rating measurement subjects had been compromised. 
AGB Nielsen, in turn, in a statement today said they were no longer going to conduct rating measurements, according to reports. A large part of the 1,070 subjects whose adresses had been disclosed were newcomers into the system, as they had replaced 800 other subjects whose addresses had also been exposed, according to the state broadcasting station Turkish Radio and Television (TRT). 

Law enforcement officials raided a number of production firms and the AGB Nielsen Company last week as part of an operation regarding allegations of irregularities in the ratings measurements of television channels, following a complaint from TRT about alleged tampering with television ratings. 
Among the production firms raided by the police were companies that produced some of Turkey’s most popular television series, such as Ay Production, the maker of “Kuzey Güney” (“North South”) and “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” (“What is Fatmagül’s Crime?”) as well as Tims Productions, the maker of the wildly popular “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (“Magnificient Century.”) 

Last week’s raids were conducted on allegations that rating measurement subjects had been given gifts to keep the ratings of particular shows high. A number of leading broadcasting channels, such as NTV, Habertürk, CNBC–e and BloombergHT, have already stopped subscribing to the rating measurement system, while a number of suspects were taken into custody in connection with the allegations. 

Ratings measurements in Turkey were conducted by AGB Nielsen Turkey and TİAK, a company that brings together TV stations and advertisers. Their competition in the TV market was very fierce as channels are constantly striving to gain a bigger share of Turkey’s $1.5-billion TV ad market.