Nielsen Television Audience Measurement's official licensee, TV MR Georgia announced on 20 March a decision to temporarily suspend operations, citing "frequent interrogations" and "stopping of functioning of modems" as reasons. According to the statement published on the company's official website, tests revealed that the technical problem had occurred "beyond the office".
"The events that took place lately, including late night interrogations in our office, constant presence of 5 to 7 investigators at our office, in all the rooms, constant viewing of documentations have created unbearable conditions. The employees are distressed, all of them have been trying to do their best to maintain the working process, however all of this exceeds our human powers," the statement reads "In addition, yesterday, 9 of our 10 modems stopped working due to completely incomprehensible reasons. Today's tests have demonstrated that our modem is functioning properly, and that the technical problem has occured beyond our office. We do not wish to blame this problem on anyone without fully studying and examining the issue, so, as soon as the true matter of the problem is found, we will fully inform you."
"Due to these two reasons, we are forced to announce that the office is suspending its operation. However, we promise:
Technological and independent TV audience research will still exist in Georgia.
We will continue operating from the day when the Revenue Service stops examination of our company in the manner in which it is being conducted currently, and when we have a physical possibility to resume our normal daily cooperation with our partner families," the statement says.
TV MR Georgia, the company measuring ratings of TV channels in Georgia, was fined with 800 GEL by the Revenue Service of Georgia on 17 March. The company says that was the result of the company's refusal to disclose the information about the families participating in the monitoring of TV ratings.
Gocha Tskitishvili, the founder of IPM (the Institute for Polling and Marketing) and partner of TV MR Georgia, told journalists that the inspection of the company pursues the only aim – to get hold of confidential lists. According to him, three weeks ago one of Georgian TV companies, which despite spent amounts has a low rating, demanded from him the disclosure of strictly confidential information about the whereabouts of people meters used to measure TV ratings. Following this demand, the Finance Ministry's investigative unit entered the company.