Feb. 01, 2008 (Mike Enriquez, sangkot sa dayaan!)

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Former RGMA employees tag Mike Enriquez in TV ratings fraud

Two former officers of RGMA radio stations in Iloilo said RGMA president Miguel “Mike” Enriquez knew about and was directly involved in covert operations to manipulate results of TV ratings surveys in Bacolod and Iloilo.

Romie Diamanse, former program director and OIC-station manager of Campus Radio (an FM radio station owned and operated by GMA Network, Inc.) for RGMA in Iloilo, and Francis Casumpang, also a former program director of Campus Radio, both told ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol World about Enriquez’s alleged involvement in ratings manipulation.

According to Diamanse, Enriquez himself presided over meetings discussing underground efforts to manipulate results of TV ratings surveys in favor the GMA Network programs in radio and TV.

He added that in order to manipulate ratings results, Enriquez assigned field coordinators of GMA Network-owned radio stations to seek out households included in the pool of panel homes chosen by AGB-Nielsen Media Research Philippines.

AGB Nielsen panel homes have meters wired into their TV sets to track which channels are being watched at certain times. Data gathered from the panel homes form the basis for surveys measuring which channels and programs are most preferred by viewers.

Diamanse and Casumpang said that their field operators offered to give panel homes with P500 cash and grocery items each month, if they tuned in to GMA Network programs at specific times during the day in order to improve those programs’ ratings in the AGB Nielsen survey.

These efforts to bribe panel homes were referred to as “special operations”, according to Diamanse and Casumpang.

“Hindi lang yung radio, yung DYSI sa amin eh, GMA radio or Campus Radio Iloilo ‘yong dapat pinapakinggan niyo dapat ‘yong TV station din dapat GMA-6. They just tell me okay na dun, okay na kahit sa TV sa atin na,” said Casumpang.

(It was not just radio, which is DYSI, GMA radio or Campus Radio Iloilo that we tried to convince panel homes to switch to; we also included the TV station which is GMA-6. They would tell me when everything was already okay in a certain area, when we were able to change ratings data.)

According to the two former RGMA employees, the so-called “special operations” were conducted along with legitimate promotional activities. Both efforts, one out in the open and the covert one, received budget allocations for operating expenses.

They said that the legitimate promotional activities targeted known loyal viewers of GMA Network programs. These promotional activities included giving away gifts to these viewers, including canned goods, soap, noodles and rice.

They added that the legitimate promotional efforts were allocated P30,000 as monthly budget. However, more resources were given to the special operations.

They said that P150,000 to P200,000 were spent monthly on renting jeeps and fuel costs. The budget also covered allowances and cellcards for spotcheckers and runners, as well as bribes for survey company insiders.

The also revealed that the special operations targeted survey areas during periods when a survey was being conducted.

“Kung meron ngang tao na medyo considered leader in a specific or identified survey area, bibilhin natin yan kahit magkano. He can name or she can name his or her price basta he or she can assure na magiging number one tayo sa area niya,” said Casumpang.

(We targeted leaders in a known survey area and bought their support. He or she can name his or her price as long as he or she can assure us that we would be number one in the area.)

Enriquez denies ex-RGMA employees’ statements

Enriquez who is also a radio broadcaster and GMA TV news anchor however denied allegations that he presided in a meeting to hire agents to conduct “special operations” aimed at manipulating results of TV ratings surveys in Iloilo.

Enriquez reiterated GMA Network’s previous statement insisting that it has never engaged in any effort to underhanded effort to influence panel homes in their viewing choices.

Erniquez is one of the lead anchors for GMA Network’s primetime newscast “24 Oras”. He also has a radio program as well as a TV program featuring investigative reports.

Below is Enriquez’s official statement in full:

“I would like to reiterate GMA Network’s stand that it has never conducted any special operation to manipulate the TV and radio ratings in its favor, contrary to the allegations made by former RGMA Iloilo employees Romie Diamanse and Francis Casumpang.

“I also vehemently deny presiding in any meeting with Casumpang regarding ratings manipulation and/or special operations in Iloilo.

“This alleged meeting could not have happened because both Diamanse and Casumpang were employed with RGMA Iloilo when there was still no NUTAM ratings for TV in Iloilo. The sole basis for TV ratings at that time was the PSRC day-after recall survey, which uses no panel meters.

“These allegations are calculated and orchestrated to besmirch the repuation of broadcasters like me, and are an insult to the intelligence of the millions of viewers who place their trust in us.”

ABS-CBN has filed a lawsuit against AGB Nielsen Media Research over the issue of ratings manipulation and the latter’s refusal to stop ratings survey despite the discovery of tainted results.

GMA Network on the other hand has filed a P12 million libel case against ABS-CBN reporters and officials. GMA Network is accusing ABS-CBN of airing malicious and untrue reports portraying it as the source of efforts to manipulate ratings.



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