NDTV to file an appeal in a higher U.S. court

In a setback for the private television broadcaster, New Delhi Television (NDTV), a New York court has ruled that the proper venue for its case regarding inaccurate and corrupt Television Audience Measurement (TAM) systems would be India rather than the United States.

Last July, NDTV had filed a major suit against Nielsen group, Kantar group, and TAM India, in New York, claiming damages of over $1 billion.

TAM India is a joint venture of Nielsen and Kantar group, and the latter’s parent company is the global advertising and marketing services giant, Wire and Plastic Products (WPP).

The debate in the case so far has been on the issue of jurisdiction. NDTV has argued that the case must be heard in the U.S. as Nielsen is a New York-based global enterprise, “that has successfully marketed and profited from its U.S.-originated television ratings system.” The channel had also argued that key witnesses are in the U.S., and would not come to testify in an Indian court. WPP, in a counter motion, had pleaded that since the alleged manipulation in ratings is by an Indian company, affecting an Indian channel, the case should be heard in an Indian court.

With the court indicating that the case falls under Indian jurisdiction, NDTV has said it would file an appeal in a higher U.S. court. In a statement, it said, “This lower court’s decision is based on several misconceptions, legal and factual errors, and this will be outlined in the appeal.” Both WPP and Nielsen have welcomed the judgment, and pointed out that this proves that the “claim should never have brought to New York.”

The case is significant for it has the potential to impact the way the broadcasting industry functions. NDTV has alleged that Nielsen and Kantar were not funding TAM India adequately in order to increase its scale and invest in systems, security and quality procedures. It has also accused it of indulging in corrupt practices and favouring channels which are willing to offer inducements and bribes. TAM determines ratings for channels, which in turn shapes advertising decisions, and nature of programming.

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