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Updated: WPP Says NDTV’s TAM Ratings Lawsuit Is Hypothetical, May Sue For Defamation

Update: NDTV has issued a statement saying that it was baffled and amused by WPP’s ‘PR effort’, and that the suit is available on the website of the Supreme Court of New York. It also added that the suit was served on 10th August 2012, and that lawyers for Kantar Media Research (UK), had confirmed to NDTV that the service on their client was acceptable in New York. NDTV has said that it has affidavits to substantiate this, and has called upon WPP to fix ‘their badly damaged and dishonest ratings system in India’. Here’s the statement issued by NDTV:

‘ NDTV is baffled and amused by the PR effort by WPP. PR is clearly the main aim, as the WPP statement contains a number of legal flaws.

It is indeed strange that they term the suit as hypothetical as it is available for everyone to read in full on the website of the Supreme Court of New York (as reported first by the Hollywood Reporter and read by many since). In fact it appears as though WPP must have read it too as they refer too many details in the NDTV complaint and respond with several false denials!
Moreover, while they claim that the suit has not been served, they surely know, or should know, that service was indeed made on the 10th of August in New York, and processes under the Hague Convention are also underway as is the normal procedure. Moreover, the lawyers for Kantar Media Research (UK), have already confirmed to NDTV that the service on their client was acceptable in New York. In fact, matters have progressed much beyond ‘service’; the lawyers for Nielsen have been in touch with our lawyers and have requested for an extension. In addition, the CEO of Kantar has been in touch with us and has acknowledged receiving the complaint. NDTV has affidavits to substantiate this.

While many may attribute sinister motives to WPP’s Statement which is full of factual and legal errors, NDTV would give them the benefit of the doubt and assume WPP has made a silly error which simple cross-checking through their internal systems will soon correct. If all else fails, for details of the complaint we suggest they visit the Supreme Court of New York’s website where the “non-hypothetical” complaint is detailed in full.

We suggest WPP refrain from using their massive PR machine to make baseless threats against NDTV. Instead we request that WPP should focus on honestly fixing (for want of a better word!) their badly damaged and dishonest ratings system in India – which in their Statement they acknowledge they have control over and is their responsibility.’

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Earlier: Media agency WPP has called NDTV’s lawsuit against it ‘hypothetical’, saying that:
– it has not been served with the lawsuit, and neither have any of WPP’s operating companies.
– the courts of New York don’t have any jurisdiction to hear any such claims
– despite a lack of a valid service, “WPP Parties” are in the process of issuing an application to strike out any hypothetical lawsuit.
– WPP is considering suing NDTV for defamation

The fact that it hasn’t been served yet doesn’t mean that the lawsuit is hypothetical. We’ve written to NDTV to confirm whether a lawsuit has indeed been filed in New York. (Editor’s note: Our apologies – that should have been done when the initial reports, and a copy of the apparent lawsuit surfaced)

Our reports so far on the TAM situation:
How To Disrupt TAM Ratings For TV
What NDTV’s Whistleblower ‘The Consultant’ Said About Rigging TAM Ratings
NDTV Files Lawsuit Against Nielsen For Manipulating TV Ratings


Statement in relation to NDTV’s hypothetical law suit
22 August, 2012

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In the light of recent media comment, WPP feels it is appropriate to comment on the recent hypothetical law suit (the “hypothetical Law Suit”), said to have been issued in New York, by New Delhi Television Limited (“NDTV”) against WPP and other parties.

Despite comments in the media to the contrary, the hypothetical Law Suit has not, as of today, been served on WPP, nor on any of WPP’s operating companies (the “WPP Parties”), referred to in the hypothetical Law Suit.

In any event, there is no merit, whatsoever, in any of the claims made in the hypothetical Law Suit relating to the WPP Parties, nor do the courts of New York have any jurisdiction to hear any such claims.

Despite the lack of any valid service, the WPP Parties are in the process of issuing an immediate application to strike out the hypothetical Law Suit and will be seeking their costs in so doing.

In the light of these circumstances, WPP is also giving active consideration to issuing proceedings against NDTV for defamation and has instructed its lawyers accordingly.

The legal issues aside, TAM India (“TAM”) which is a joint venture between AC Nielsen Research Services Private Limited and Kantar Market Research Services Private Limited, is proud of the service it has been delivering to the market for 14 years, and the way in which investment in technology has been applied to the service. As recent developments indicate, TAM is committed to working with the industry to continuously improve the use of technology, coverage and transparency. TAM has taken and continues to take stringent measures to protect the panel against repeated attempts at tampering by currently unknown parties and has recently agreed a series of additional steps with the industry to remove any question marks about the quality and reliability of the TAM data.

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