Regulators

Kantar gets stay on cross-shareholding norms; TAM allowed to publish ratings

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NEW DELHI:  Kantar Market Research Services has managed to get the relief it wanted from the Delhi High Court on the cross-shareholding norms for television rating agencies.

On a petition by Kantar challenging the government’s cross-shareholding norms for TV ratings agencies, the HC has stayed the operation of four sections -- 1.7a, 1.7d, 16.1 and 16.2 -- that relate to cross-shareholdings and to publishing of TV viewership ratings  in the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India.

Kantar had filed the petition as the new policy would have resulted in TAM Media Research, a company it has jointly promoted with Nielsen India, having to shut operations.

The court has given TAM two weeks to register itself under all the other provisions of the policy that was recently approved by the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs and comes into effect from 15 February.

In addition, the court has also stayed the operation of a clause that prevents existing TV rating agencies from publishing viewership ratings till they company with the provisions of the policy. TAM is the only company in India providing TV viewership ratings.

The Delhi High Court will hear further arguments in the case on 6 March.

Meanwhile, TAM has been ordered to place on its website the list of its shareholders and also the list of its clients.

The provisions of Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India that have been stayed are:

1.7 The company shall comply with the following cross holdings requirements.

 (a) No single company/ legal entity, either directly or through its associates or inter-connected undertakings, shall have substantial equity holding in rating agencies and broadcasters/advertisers/ advertising agencies.

 (d) A promoter company/member of the board of directors of the rating agency cannot have stakes in any broadcaster/ advertiser/advertising agency either directly or through its associates or inter-connected undertakings.

16. PROVISIONS WITH RESPECT TO EXISTING RATING AGENCIES

16.1 These guidelines shall also be applicable to the existing rating agencies.

16.2 No rating agency shall generate and publish ratings till such time that they comply with the provisions of these guidelines.

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