Death of Morals or Moral death of Medialogic and paratrooper anchors
By Hussian Ali
The system of TV ratings in Pakistan has been under criticism since long and general public as well as media experts have been questioning credibility of rating system in Pakistan but such voices had been unheard or sometimes snubbed because sole TV rating agency Medialogic Pakistan is so powerful that no newspaper and television channel can dare to comment against its rating system because its rating is the sole decider of billions of rupees businesses to television channels and most of them are enjoying cross media power thereby having print media houses also.
Senior journalists have been criticizing Medialogic and accusing it for manipulation of rating and promoting non-journalist cadre of television anchors but such accusations have been only in private forums and discussion because even senior journalists could not write because majority of newspapers are having their on television channels therefore nothing could come out in print media as well as electronic media against Medialogic. Journalistic cadre is Pakistan use a terminology of “Paratrooper Anchors” for those anchors who entered electronic media without having any experience of working journalism but got exceptional status and positions because they got extraordinary better ratings comparing to those real working journalists having quarter of century experience behind them. Working journalists have been crying that TV rating system was trashed, unscientific and against reality and share manipulation but there was nobody to hear them— even not their owners. Some senior working journalists who are now working as anchors claim that even their owners get favorable rating for certain anchors of their own team from Rating agency to snub senior working journalists on the instruction of certain quarters of powers in Pakistan. Since these working journalists have no hearing within their offices or in media, they opted to use social media mostly with pseudo names and tailored the terminology of “Paratrooper Anchors”.
While Medialogic Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd said that it had officially launched its new service comprising of 20 cities and up to 1,000 households last year. This new service was featured with advanced technology from Kantar Media UK to measure TV viewership and the technology is equipped with GPRS communication for temporarily data providing. Medialogic says that the company is committed to presenting the most exact, feasible and productive media research solutions to its clients. It may be mentioned that Medialogic Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, went into partnership with Kantar Media on December 16, 2013. Medialogic introduced electronic overnight TV ratings data in Pakistan in 2007 with a panel covering three cities which gradually been expanded to nine cities and 675 households. Adopting Kantar Media’s Rapid Meter enhanced panel to over 20 cities and 1,100 households across the nation from 2014. While Kantar Media provides clients with a broad range of insights, from audience research, competitive intelligence, vital consumer behaviour and digital insights, marketing and advertising effectiveness to social media monitoring.
One can accept claims of Medialogic that it has state of the art equipment and technology but press conference of its Chief Executive Officers (CEO) has raised doubts and questions about its credibility. Salman Danish the CEO of Medialogic Pakistan held a press conference on Tuesday and claimed that Express Television channels got fake results of media rating and ranking by manipulating system of his company.
His press conference now questing credibility of TV Ranking and rating system and now print as well as electronic media is whispering about manipulation means that can play havoc with actual rating of any channel or any TV show. Now TV rating is under question today in Pakistan as CEO of the company himself claimed that the Express Media Group was buying its staff to get better rating and was involved in malpractices to increase television ratings for its TV channels.
According to him, Medialogic had earlier served a notice to the Express Media Group, accusing it of indulging in malpractice and bribery to Medialogic staff for getting increase TV ratings.
“They were bribing Medialogic employees to increase their TV ratings,” said Danish, while presenting cheques and drafts received by Medialogic employees from individuals connected to the Express Media Group.
Salman Danish also claimed that the TV channels had profited by upto Rs450 million from the altered TV ratings at the behest of the entire electronic media industry.
Danish said his company was endorsed by Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA)- — the sole organization of television channels owners.
“Now it is up to PBA to further investigate this matter and find out the veracity of our claims that Express Media Group has illegally profited by Rs450 million,” added Salman Danish.
On the other hand, the Express Tribune claimed that the ratings agency Medialogic was trying to extort Rs450 million from it and ratings agency chose its own employee, Shaista as scapegoat and asked her to testify against Express News and she was pressurised to say that certain households having rating metres were asked to tune into Express Channels — an attempt that resulted in an increase in its overall ratings. Express Tribune further claimed that Shaista was harassed by Medialogic to give statement against the Express Tribune and her family was also harassed by Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) officials in Rawalpindi.
Express Tribune ran a story title “Conspiracy exposed: Kidnapping, ransom and blackmailing” in which it claimed that when Shaista refused to become a part of the malicious campaign, Danish, in collusion with CIA Lahore Inspector Bashir Niazi, lodged a fake FIR against her. Shaista and her family were also threatened of dire consequences, including arrest — evidences of which in the form of call recordings are available with Express News.
When all their efforts to pressurise her failed, Medialogic’s officers along with the CIA Model Town Police station kidnapped her brothers from Rawalpindi, and then forced her to come to Lahore and sign documents including blank stamp papers in return for the release of her brothers.
Disregarding all standard procedures — such as obtaining a search or arrest warrant, and informing the local police station — the CIA raided Shaista’s house in Rawalpindi and rather than apprehending her as she had obtained a pre-arrest bail, took into custody two of her brothers, Majid and Wajid.
Pakistan is an interesting country where electronic media is growing like mushrooms but there is only One Rating Agency that too is under question regarding its credibility to rate popularity of any show or television channel. This agency has uneven numbers of rating metres in the country and metres are mere people who can be asked to watch one particular channel at particular time to get better rating for a particularly time slot or for a particular television anchor.
Medialogic is also the sole way of providing rating to government of Pakistan for deciding rates and ranking of television channels for providing official advertisements to television channels.
It is interesting to note that Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has its own monitoring system at Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications but this system has not been utilized by private television channels and they are not ready to accept its rating. Unconfirmed information suggests that setting up of Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications was delayed for years due to alleged pressure on certain bureaucrats and politicians in past from Medialogic and top televisions and newspapers owners because Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications could be a competitor and could break the monopoly of Medialogic. Sources claim that tremendous pressure came on Information Ministry from media giants who have newspapers as well as television channels to close down Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications or at least keep away from TV rating announcements and monitoring because Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications had been monitoring status of airing government advertisements on these top television channels and also have latest scientific systems for getting proper TV Rating.
Now after the fiasco of Medialogic, one point is clear that Pakistan must have another TV Rating agency and Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications can fill the vacuum if bureaucrats and politicians can stand against tycoons and giants of Pakistani media.
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