Television

HC stays India News ratings suspension; BARC hints at continuing crusade

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2016/12/08/Kartikeya-Sharma_0.jpg?itok=2s1NX5aI

MUMBAI: Describing the suspension of India News ratings by BARC(Broadcast Audience Research Council India) as ?arbitrary and illegal? by an order dated 6 December, 2016, the Bombay High Court stayed the suspension of BARC ratings of India News. The court has stated that the suspension and subsequent communication to all the subscribers has been prima-facie seen as a reputation maligning action, a press release from India News stated.

Earlier, BARC had temporarily suspended ?India News? ratings for a period of four weeks. In a statement, following the court order India News CEO Varun Kohli said, ?India News is a credible news channel in the broadcasting business in the country and has grown consistently in the last four years both in the times of BARC ratings and TAM ratings, the predecessor of BARC. As a news channel, we uphold strong journalistic values and have established ourselves as a trustworthy and responsible media house in the country and have enjoyed unconditional support from all the stakeholders over the years. We are very confident that all the stakeholders and our well-wishers will continue to support us as they have done till now and we wish to work more closely with one and all.?

Reacting to the judgement, BARC India CEO Partho Dasgupta said: "The honourable court has given an ad-interim order and we have no comment as the matter is still sub judice. We are confident about what we have done. We will continue to act as per our board and government guidelines, with the objective of providing the Indian broadcast industry with an accurate, robust and reliable television audience measurement system."

Iqbal Chagla, Senior Advocate, along with Sharan]agtiani, Subhashjha, Siddharth Bambha, Shyam D. Nandan, and  Yash Wardhan   Tiwari, instructed by M/s. Law Global, appeared for the plaintiff (India News). Dinyar Madon,  Senior Advocate, along with Yashesh Kamdar, Anand Desai, C. Mitra, Aneesha Jacob and Manasi Vyas, instructed by M/s. DSK Legal, appeared for the defendant (BARC India).

According to the judgement, the Plaintiffs have also taken out Notice of Motion seeking interim stay with regard to the operation, execution, implementation and/or  effect of the Order of Suspension dated 24 November, 2016.

The plaintiffs have further prayed that the data and ratings  it is entitled to receive in terms of the End User License Agreement (EULA) dated   24 April, 2015, executed   by and between the  plaintiff and  the defendant, be made available to the plaintiffs. The present application is made by the Plaintiff for urgent ad-interim reliefs, according to the judgement.

The defendant had issued an email dated 24 November, 2016, addressed to all the subscribers of the defendant's services, inter alia, stating that the ratings of the said channel  had been suspended  for a period of four weeks for 'suspected mala fide practices.' The defendant has also released the information regarding the suspension to the media as well. The defendant  had noted the abnormal and unjustified  high TRPs   of the plaintiff's channel during the period of week 35-2016 to  44- 2016.  However, the defendant had not earlier disclosed the spiked TRP to the plaintiff, in order to prevent the channel from misusing the said data/TRP   to increase its revenue  with the advertisers.

Dinyar Madon appearing for the defendant (BARC India) laid emphasis on the graphs produced before the court in support of the defendant's case, that the same reveals the abnormal and unjustified high TRP during the period of Week 35 to Week 44. When the court pointed out to Madon that during Week 35 to Week 44 too, there does not appear to be a constant rise in the TRPs, but during certain weeks there appears to be a decline, Madon stated that, though the same is true, he is unable to explain the same. This court therefore observed that  if that be so,  there is all the more reason that the 'conclusive evidence available with the 'defendant' ought to have been provided to the plaintiff at the time of issuing the show-cause notice to the plaintiff which till date is not provided.

Initially, Madon stated on instructions that he is willing to show the evidence to the court, and later agreed to provide the same to the plaintiff. However, this offer is made not only after Chagla (Iqbal Chagla, senior advocate, appearing for the plaintiff - India News) concluded his arguments but even after Madon concluded making his submissions.  

At that stage, Madon sought to rely upon an unsigned copy of a report of an inquiry with a farmer in U.P., who is stated to have told representatives of the defendant that his mother was approached by representatives of the plaintiff and bribed Rs. 500/- to watch their channel. This, incident is alleged to have taken place in January 2016. In my opinion, for the reasons stated above, the defendant will have to furnish such proof to the plaintiff in terms of the Agreement or in any event to place their conclusive evidence/proof on Affidavit to enable the plaintiff to examine and deal with the same which can be done at the stage of the hearing of the Motion. On the face of it, even if such a report is considered, it raises many queries and the plaintiff is entitled to deal with it.

In the circumstances the court was prima facie satisfied that the order of suspension issued by the defendant is arbitrary and illegal, without following the procedure prescribed in clause 7 (e) of the Agreement. Though the defendant claimed that 'conclusive evidence' was available with the defendant, the same was not provided to the plaintiff depriving them the opportunity to deal with the same. Instead, without providing any evidence to the plaintiff, the defendant has not only suspended the ratings of the defendant's channel but has immediately forwarded e- mails to their subscribers condemning the plaintiff of 'suspected mala fide practices' thereby, prima facie, maligning their reputation.  The balance of convenience is overwhelmingly in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant.

In the circumstances, the court passed the following ad-interim order:

The suspension order dated 24 November, 2016 is stayed and the defendant is restrained from acting upon and/or implementing the same. Needless to add that if at the stage of the hearing of the Notice of Motion, the court holds that the defendant has been able to prima facie establish the breach on the part of the plaintiff, the plaintiff will have to undergo the balance suspension period stayed by this order. There shall be no order as to costs.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/Amazon_NEW.jpg?itok=KI9MRqO5
Amazon most advertised brand in BARC week 41

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released its data for last week’s top advertisers and brands between 6-12 October 2018. The data is a reflection of top 10 advertiser and brands across genre on Indian television (U+R) : 2+ Individuals.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/Marathi_BARC.jpg?itok=DUC_6K8L
No changes in Bhojpuri, Kannada, Marathi segments in BARC week 41

In the Bengali space, Jalsha Movies and Colors Bangla swapped their third and fourth positions in BARC data week 41. No changes were observed in the Bhojpuri, Kannada and Marathi segments. Moreover, Gemini TV and Zee Telugu swapped their second and third positions in the Telugu sector. Flowers TV...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/Anil%20Ambani.jpg?itok=4eNnBDRM
Anil Ambani’s Reliance sues NDTV for Rs 10,000 cr for Rafale coverage

NDTV has been sued for Rs 10,000 crore by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group in an Ahmedabad court for its reportage on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The lawsuit is filed against NDTV's weekly show, Truth vs Hype, which aired on 29 September.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/Arnab-Goswami.jpg?itok=HTFNEsfj
Republic TV leads English news genre in BARC week 41

Republic TV continued to lead the English news genre as per All India BARC data week 41. No changes were noticed this week in the English business news genre. Aaj Tak maintained its lead across every Hindi news genre for yet another week. Hindi news urban genre remained unchanged. Zee News dropped...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/20/BARC.jpg?itok=z6etjpSh
Star Utsav bags leadership in GEC (U+R) in BARC week 41

Star Utsav and Zee Anmol swapped their first and second positions in the Hindi (U+R) genre in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 41 of 2018. Star Plus and Big Magic exchanged their eighth and ninth positions in the rural market. Star Bharat and Sony Sab swapped their fifth and...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/f1.jpg?itok=bHf3HxgX
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) extends exclusive television and digital rights partnership with ABB FIA Formula E championship

Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) will continue to broadcast each round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for a further two seasons across the Indian sub-continent - including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/james.jpg?itok=kJ15Bp4y
James Gough’s innovative idea will be incubated with the intent to prototype it at Formula 1®’s Media & Technology Centre

Formula 1® Managing Director of Motorsports, Ross Brawn, and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Driver, Lewis Hamilton, today crowned James Gough the winner of this year’s USD $50,000 F1® Innovation Prize at the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI 2018 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in Austin.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/flix.jpg?itok=OGsLbI9R
FLIX FIRST SCREENING: &flix makes October spookier with the multi-city theatrical premiere of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

&flix, the all-new destination for the most-awaited Hollywood blockbusters, brings the much-anticipated sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween on Thursday, October 25

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/ganga.jpg?itok=rFc6bFbm
BIG Ganga Goes All Out to Delight Its Audience This Festive Season, Launches Engrossing Range of Shows

With the festive season right around the corner, BIG Ganga, the number one Bhojpuri channel in the Hindi heartland

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories