Cracking Chrome DM-Da Vinci code as legalities take over

MUMBAI:  When business partners --- erstwhile or otherwise--- part ways acrimoniously, dirty linen gets washed in public. Almost a year after parting ways, Da Vinci Learning (DVL) TV channel, through its Indian JV partner Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd, has served a breach of contract notice to channel’s distributor Chrome Data and Media Analytics (Chrome DM), which has hit back with a counter legal notice to The Quint.

DVL, which announced its formal launch in India November 2015, is a 50:50 joint venture in India between Da Vinci Media GmbH and Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd (The Quint),  a digital venture founded by Ritu Kapur and Raghav Bahl, former founder-promoters of Network18 Group that was bought over by the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd. in 2014.

The legally drafted notice from The Quint states that the data solution provider (Chrome DM) under-performed and could not deliver to what was discussed and decided by the two partners. The distribution of the educational channel DVL in India was entrusted to Brickworks Media, a sister concern of Chrome DM that is focused on quantitative and qualitative market research.

According to information collated, Da Vinci’s Indian operations owes to Chrome DM approximately Rs 15 million (Rs. 1.5 crore) in unpaid bills.

Chrome DM founder and CEO Pankaj Krishna, a media industry veteran, took to social media to voice his side of the story. In an open letter on Facebook late last week, he said, “Dear Raghav Bahl, you did manage to pleasantly surprise me when I happen to go though some letters you have sent to our registered office…And today u have resorted to some rather immature tactics of sending out unfounded letters and communication, 11 months after parting ways!!”

Krishna went on to further state: “To rewind, it was the 25th of January, 2016 when you felt that you could usurp the Brickworks' team efforts and investments towards Da Vinci and take on the balance project yourself and save on some hard earned money. Sadly, you failed and failed till date.”

According to Krishna, Bahl and his team were initially game to make the payments later, but soon stopped accepting any calls or messages from the Chrome team. sent an email to Bahl to get his reactions to Krishna’s FB post. After several attempts, though Bahl did not comment, Da Vinci Media (DVM)'s marketing director Monomita Mukhopadhyay replied to our mail.

"Mr. Pankaj Krishna's Facebook post is a reaction to a demand notice sent by Da Vinci Media to his company for breach of contract. There is no logic behind Mr. Krishna’s post; it’s his opinion. They did not deliver (on) to what was discussed and did not perform well. DVM and its lawyers are doing the needful," Mukhopadhyay explained.

However, Chrome DM marketing head Harnoor Kanwar told that it was The Quint/DVM that decided to part ways without fulfilling their financial obligations.

“I have attended all the meetings with Raghav Bahl and his team. Our last meeting was on 25 January 2016 when he decided to turn the tables and took charge of the distribution of his channel. We all were simply surprised. Post that, he was very much a part of all my communications regarding the investments. He owes us a few crores (of rupees) but that was ok with us. But now, he has sent us this letter demanding damages. Why has he suddenly awakened after a11-month sleep? We surely are going to take counter measures,” Kanwar counter-punched.

Chrome DM and Brickworks Media specialises in brand and other market related research, including those pertaining to television sector. Bahl and his wife-promoted Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd is a digital media company that has a joint venture with Bloomberg for the Bloomberg business news channel in India and also operates a co-branded news website, apart from other independent ventures.


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