MAM

WPP: NDTV lawyers probed status of settlement

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Mumbai: WPP, the global marketing communications agency, is making its confrontation with NDTV over alleged corruption in TAM’s television ratings louder.

The agency, in a late night statement on Monday, made further revelations to prove that NDTV was seeking a settlement rather than pursue a costly legal battle in the US.

WPP, which owns half of TAM Media Research in India through subsidiaries, disclosed that on 21 August NDTV’s lawyers wrote to Kantar’s lawyers enquiring about the possibility of a settlement meeting.

It said the precise working of the email from NDTV lawyers was: “…..please let us know what the current status is in relation to settlement possibilities and/or a meeting, which we believe is the subject of certain email communications between Eric Salama of Kantar and Vikram Chandra of NDTV.”

Kantar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WPP and is engaged in media research in several countries as TAM Media Research is in India. Nielsen, the other 50 per cent owner of TAM, too is a media research agency and is a rival of Kantar globally.

WPP stressed that in addition to Vikram Chandra’s email attempting to initiate a settlement meeting, NDTV’s lawyers have also referred to the possibility of settlement discussions on other occasions.

The email was sent by Chandra to Kantar cEO on 27 July 2012, a day after the lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of New York.

Though WPP welcomed NDTV‘s statement that it has no desire to get into a prolonged trial by media, it claimed it has issued statements only in order to correct selective and misleading statements in the media.

WPP has selectively leaked some information in their feud with NDTV since it first issued a statement on 22 August but says it would not resort to an exchange of media statements over the questions posed to the communications agency by NDTV.

WPP has taken up the cudgels against NDTV, which has accused Nielsen, Kantar, TAM, WPP and its officials of knowingly turning a blind eye to corruption in TAM’s ratings system. The other defendants in the lawsuit have so far kept silent and have not reacted to the lawsuit.

As for the lawsuit, It said: “We remain of the firm view that it has not been served, the claims in that lawsuit have no merit whatsoever, and that it has been issued in an entirely inappropriate jurisdiction. However, we will deal with those issues in the courts, at the appropriate time.”

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