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False ratings an unwanted link in TV profit chain

China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-11 07:22

COMPANIES MEASURING viewing figures have been in cahoots with TV stations and content producers for more than a decade to falsify the ratings of programs. Beijing News commented on Tuesday:

According to media reports, the companies that measure viewing figures are supposed to be independent gatherers of data. In reality, domestic companies have earned over 4 billion yuan ($600 million) by manipulating TV ratings over the past 10 years.

Falsifying viewing figures is the result of advertisers demanding the broadcasters guarantee stable viewing figures, which pushes the TV stations to ask the production companies to purchase higher viewing figures. This in turn means the production companies raise the price of each episode of a TV drama and the TV stations raise the prices they charge the advertisers. Thus except for the companies that fake the viewing figures, the entire TV profit chain is the victim of the counterfeiting practice.

Those producing high-quality programs but are unwilling or unable to pay are marginalized, while those producing inferior products who are willing to pay for ratings get an undeserved boost.

Actually the corruption in the TV industry is the soil of the counterfeit ratings figures. And the corruption of the selling channels and platforms definitely leads to shortcuts and scrimping on the content. The act of faking the viewing figures should be criticized. However, it would not exist without the complicity of the broadcasters and the actual support of the producers.

Despite business insiders exposing the facts, the media uncovering the truth and inspection departments getting involved, the falsifying of viewing figures may continue. The reason is simple: The profit chain that links all the parties is binding them ever tightly together.

The TV industry has to squarely face the problem, eliminate the corruption by breaking the chain so that the quality of the programs alone determines the size of the audience.

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