NDTV firm on legal pursuit against TAM

MUMBAI: The New York Supreme Court (NYSC) is expected to give out its verdict on whether the complaint filed by Indian broadcaster NDTV against TAM‘s owning companies - Nielsen, Kantar and WPP - holds jurisdiction in America by mid January.

A source informed that NDTV plans to keep on with its efforts against the TV ratings agency TAM and its holding companies irrespective of the judgement. “If the New York Supreme Courts rules that the case has jurisdiction in America, they will continue with it there. If the Court says India is the right country for this litigation, the broadcaster will pursue the case in India anew,” the source said on condition of anonymity.

The parties currently involved are filing their amended complaints and/or motions to dismiss NDTV‘s lawsuit according to the deadlines given by the NYSC in September this year.

In a recent interview with liveMint, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell commented: “NDTV doesn’t have just their restaurant lawyers involved, they have others as well now. They have upgraded. There is no development. Not to my knowledge, no. NDTV seems to have gone quiet on it.”

The source said that “there is no point in making noise over nothing till the issue of jurisdiction is settled.”

On the matter of lawyers, the industry insider explained that there is always a team of lawyers involved in such cases. While a certain set of lawyers worked on the preliminary complaints, when it is time for discussion and arguing in front of the judge another set of lawyers are called in. In essence it is as simple as saying, “Different roles to different lawyers.”

NDTV has expanded its legal team on the case by getting on board law firm Pepper Hamilton which has handled legal matters for the Indian news broadcaster in the past as well.

In October, NDTV informed the NYSC that it has dropped action without prejudice against Cavendish Square Holding B.V., J. Walter Thompson, IMRB International, a division of Hindustan Thompson Associates Private Limited, and Kantar Market Research Services Pvt. Ltd. which were named in the original document.

Earlier this week, Prasar Bharti had approached the Competition Commission of India against India‘s lone TV ratings agency TAM insinuating anti-competitive practices. The pubcaster had filed the complaint against TAM on 16 November alleging that the ratings agency has been using its dominant position in audience measurement by excluding markets where Doordarshan channels have strong presence. The complaint was filed under section 4 of the Competition Act 2002, which pertains to abuse of dominant position by a market player.

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