NDTV files fresh appeal against Nielsen in New York supreme court

MUMBAI: New Delhi Television (NDTV) ain’t giving up on its law suit against global research agency Nielsen on account of the TV ratings service it runs in India with global advertising powerhouse WPP under TAM Media Research. Last week, the newscaster filed fresh papers with a New York state supreme court appealing against its decision earlier this year to dismiss its $1 billion suit against Nielsen and WPP.This time, however, it has named only Nielsen group companies in the appeal, whereas earlier it had included both in its suit.

While dismissing the suit, the New York court had then said that NDTV’s claim and complaint should be filed and contested in Indian courts where TAM, the Nielsen-WPP joint venture is based and not in New York.

NDTV’s nine month old lawsuit states that it has lost hundred of millions of dollars in ad revenues on account of the inaccuracies in TAM’s TV ratings service in India and that it needs to be compensated for the loss. It had alleged that TAM staff took bribes in exchange for overstating ratings.

In its fresh appeal (a copy of which is with which it filed with the court on 15 May, NDTV sought a reversal, annulment or modification of the trial‘s court‘s dismissal of its application earlier as it has mistakenly ruled that the Big Apple is not a proper venue for the suit because it “failed to accept as true the allegations” that the New York-based Nielsen owns and controls the “Nielsen process” upon which its ratings services around the world operate.

Additionally, the NDTV appeal has stated that the court has disregarded the fact that Nielsen‘s hq and "senior management (and several key witnesses and thus evidence) are located in New York and the court wrongly concluded that the defendants were foreign."

The court has also erred earlier in dismissing its amended complaint, NDTV has stated in its appeal, "for its failure to include an indispensable party (TAM)..the court wrongly concluded that its claims address TAM’s misconduct in India when in fact NDTV’s claims are based solely on the conduct of the New York-based Nielsen.”

“The Indian courts likely lack jurisdiction over Nielsen,” as it is based out of New York, pleads the new NDTV filing. “Contrary to the trial court’s rulings..we properly pled that Nielsen breached a duty it owed to NDTV and the breach resulted in a compensable injury.”

NDTV has pointed out that it had brought the bugs in TAM’s ratings process in India to WPP’s and Nielsen’s notice. Both had promised to have these rectified, but did nothing about it forcing it to take the matter to the US courts.

WPP and Nielsen had denied NDTV’s claims and said that the case should be argued in India and the not in the US, which the New York court had accepted while dismissing the case.

TAM, on its part, in recent times, has been making efforts to spruce up its act, aiming to guarantee impartiality of its ratings service. It has set up a vigilance desk’, headed by a former senior policeman, and a ‘transparency panel’ of regulation experts. But some broadcasters have said these changes have come too late.

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