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New York Court Dismisses NDTV’s Lawsuit Against Nielsen; Timeline

ndtv_logoNDTV’s (New Delhi Television Limited) lawsuit against The Nielsen Company for alleged manipulation of TV ratings and viewership data has been dismissed by the New York Court reports LiveMint.com. NDTV plans to appeal against this decision of the New York Lower Court. Speaking to Mint, NDTV said that the court did not go into the merits of the case on corruption in the Nielsen process. Last year, we had written a detailed break down of all the evidence and details presented by NDTV in its law suit for our readers. Their evidence includes details of interactions between NDTV and Nielsen where Nielsen had admitted to inaccuracy and rigging of data and had promised more investment in TAM to improve the process.

In its lawsuit, NDTV was originally suing Nielsen Co $580 million for gross negligence against TAM and misrepresentations, $810 million for fraud, $125 million for negligence and gross negligence against Nielsen, $125 million for negligence and gross negligence against Kantar, $790 million for breach of contract against TAM, $250 million for prima facie tort against TAM and more on various costs including legal fees and punitive damages which was to be determined by trier of fact during the legal proceedings. However, now that the case has been dismissed, NDTV is looking to appeal against the judgement.

In response to NDTV’s lawsuit, Nielsen had appealed to the court for dismissal of the case on several grounds including lack of personal jurisdiction, failure to state a cause of action, failure to plead with sufficient particularity, insufficiency of service of process and (forum non-conveniens) on grounds of inconvenience requesting a transfer to a more convenient location, in this case – India where the alleged fraud had happened. It appears that the court has dismissed the case on grounds requested by Nielsen.

Has the court really omitted the merits of the case of corruption? What will be the grounds on which NDTV will now appeal against this judgement? This could become a landmark case for the media if the appeal against this judgement is upheld in court for it can change the way advertising and programming work as we know it today.

Timeline of the NDTV-Nielsen Lawsuit:

April 2012: NDTV’s talks with TAM on the manipulation of television ratings

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July 2012: NDTV files lawsuit against Nielsen for alleged manipulation of television ratings.  Read the whistleblower account here.

August 23, 2012: WPP (parent company of Nielsen) says NDTV’s lawsuit is hypothetical and plans to sue NDTV for defamation. NDTV responded to this statement saying that WPP’s statements were a PR effort and that the case cannot be hypothetical since it is available for public viewing on the website of the Supreme Court of New York.

August 24, 2012: In an interview with Mint, Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and Chief Executive of WPP Group Plc, said that the lawsuit was not served properly, and that it was a mischief on NDTV’s part. He had alleged that NDTV’s lawyers had called up WPP and had asked if the firm would like to discuss a settlement.He also added that is it NDTV’s attempt to blame TAM for their performance.

August 26, 2012: NDTV had refuted WPP’s claim of asking the firm to discuss a settlement. NDTV also said that Eric Salama, the chief executive of Kantar had sent a confidential mail to NDTV on 8 August, suggesting a meeting to “halt litigation”.

August 27, 2012: WPP refuted NDTV’s claim that WPP is taking Indian market very lightly. WPP further said that they welcome NDTV’s decision to not want to get into a prolonged trial and also clarified about the issue over the interactions on the ‘settlement’ between the two companies.

February 2013: New York Court Dismisses NDTV’s lawsuit. NDTV to appeal against the ruling.

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