In the ongoing attack on Republic TV by Mumbai Police, now the police have set its target on the media buying agencies that place ad in the channel, in an attempt to financially cripple the channel. The first target of Param Bir Singh led Mumbai police is Hansa Vision, a such media buying agency.
The reason for police to target Hansa Vision is that its group company Hansa Research managers the Bar-O-Meters of Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), which measures the viewership of TV channels. According to Mumbai police, Hansa Research or associate companies can’t do any business dealings with any TV channel. A Mumbai police officer on Friday claimed that under general business ethics and guidelines issued by the Union government, Hansa Research or its associate companies cannot engage in business with any TV channel.
This claim by Mumbai police raises several questions, as it is not clear whether such condition is placed by the guidelines issues by the central govt. Hansa Research and Hansa Vision is completely separate entities, while the former can’t do dealings with TV channels as it works with BARC to manage the Bar-O-Meters, the later is a media buying agency, which means its primary businesses is to deal with TYV channels. If such a rule existed, the company should not exist at all.
The second and more important point is, if Hansa Vision is not allowed to deal with TV channels, why Mumbai police is targeting only Republic in the matter. The company itself has said that they do dealings with 55 TV channels. A statement issued by Hansa group CEO Shekar Swamy had said, “In the past two years, as part of its business, Hansa Vision has purchased TV advertising time from 55 TV channels for a total value of Rs 13.42 crs on behalf of its clients. In 2019 and 2020, Hansa Vision has not bought any advertising time from Republic TV.”
Therefore, Mumbai police should be questioning all those 55 channels if the dealings are illegal, but there is no such sign, they are only questioning Republic.
Hansa Vision has published its financial statements showing that it bought ad slots on Republic in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and made payments to the TV network as per normal business practice. The company has not bought any slot in the network after that, while it remains in business buying ad slots in other TV channels, and making payments for the same.
“Hansa Vision purchases advertising time from Television Channels, advertising space from publications on behalf of its clients,” a statement issued by Hansa Vision had said.
Hansa Research had also placed the same fact, that its group company Hansa Vision buys ad spots in TV channels, and it does not do any such dealings. In fact, both Hansa Research and Republic Network had said that Hansa Vision had paid Rs 108 Lakh to Republic for buying ad spots, much more than Rs 32 Lakh claimed by Mumbai Police. Republic had also published the audited financial statements in support of this fact.
Now if indeed it is true that Hansa vision, being a group company of Hansa group, can’t do dealings with TV channels, then it would mean that the entire business of the company is illegal. Now it remains to be seen whether Mumbai police bring all other 54 TV channels under probe for this ‘illegal’ business with Hansa Vision.