Television

TAM applies for registration with MIB

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MUMBAI: When Kantar Market Research Services, a shareholder of India’s only operational ratings agency TAM Media Research, decided to go to court against the government’s cross-shareholding norms for television ratings agencies, there was a big question mark on the future of TAM.

But as Kantar on 11 February succeeded in obtaining a stay on the cross-shareholding norms from the Delhi High Court till a judgement is delivered on its petition, it had some hope that TAM could continue to operate as a television ratings service provider.

The court granted TAM two weeks after the guidelines take effect on 15 February to apply for registration with the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB).  It had time till the end of next week to apply, but it submitted its registration application much earlier, on Friday.

Kantar CEO Eric Salama confirmed to indiantelevision.com that TAM has submitted its application for being registered as a television ratings service provider.

However, there is no clarity on the period within which the ministry will take a decision on TAM’s application for registration.

There are various scenarios that can play out in the coming weeks for TAM. Further hearing on the Kantar petition will happen on 6 March.

The first but highly unlikely scenario is the ministry acting on TAM’s application and before 6 March accepts the company as eligible to be granted a registration certificate. The next step will be the company, its board of directors, MD, CEO and CFO going through a security clearance.

The second scenario is that the ministry rejects TAM’s application before 6 March, which also seems highly unlikely, or that the application is rejected after the hearing on 6 March. This could lead to Kantar filing an appeal against the government’s rejection of its application either in the High Court or in the Supreme Court and praying for allowing continuity in their business in the country. While granting the stay on cross-shareholding  norm, the court had also allowed TAM to continue to publish their television ratings.

The third scenario could be the government asking TAM to submit more documents. In such a case, Kantar could approach the Delhi High Court for more time to submit the documents sought by the government.

The fourth and more probable scenario is that the ministry may not act on TAM’s application till the Delhi High Court verdict on cross-shareholding is delivered. If the ministry finally rejects TAM’s application, Kantar may go in appeal against it.

Finally, in the event of the Delhi High Court upholding the cross-shareholding norm, Kantar could either go in appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court or may decide to restructure shareholding of TAM to comply with the government’s shareholding regulations.

The government’s norm requires that shareholders of a television ratings agency should not hold more than a 10 per cent stake in broadcasters, advertising agencies or other television ratings agencies.

In all, it seems like TAM has got some time to continue publishing its television viewership ratings in the country.

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