Mumbai, 13th October 2020: The recent TRP scam to fudge viewership data has unearthed a dark secret that’s common to multiple media platforms – newspapers, channels and online platforms routinely claim to be the highest read, watched or circulated, for financial and agenda-driven gains. In light of the recent TRP scam, digital media channels hope to enlighten their audiences on the realities of the much-touted metrics for the digital world.
“The TRP scam has exposed that TRP ratings, held as a standard for TV audience viewership, can be fudged. It has also led us as YouTube channels to question viewership numbers on our platform too”, said Shakir Ebrahim, the founder of Bisbo, an Indian YouTube channel for animated news content.
There are digital content factories which can fudge social media viewership numbers too – the Badshah scam is a recent example of this. This leaves our viewers and us wondering – whom should we trust”, he further added.
Ebrahim believes that the answer to this question lies in news credibility. “TRP is a metric that simply measures the viewership of a channel, not its news quality or credibility. Similarly, YouTube news channels which pump out conspiracy theories, biased news or salacious content can bring in viewers, but won’t stand on counts of quality or credibility. ”
Even more than the number of subscribers, watch time and engagement percentage are a more efficient barometer for YouTube content “Did the viewer’s come and sit through a piece? Did they engage with it – commented, liked, disliked or shared it? The answers to these questions offer a more realistic window into what the audience really wants to know”, he summarised.