Contrary to industry expectations, the Delhi High Court judge hearing the writ petition filed by Kantar Media in the TV ratings guidelines case has deferred a stay order in the case on January 29, 2014. The next date for the hearings has been fixed on February 11, 2014.
Meanwhile, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has also been made a respondent in the case.
As is known, Kantar Media, one of the parent companies of TAM Media, had filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court against the latest television ratings guidelines.
Kantar Media took the legal recourse after efforts to resolve the issue outside court through discussing at various forums failed to yield any results.
Kantar Media has maintained that it is against selling its stakes in TAM Media and has tried to discuss this with Government, without much success.
As per the TV ratings guidelines, approved by the Cabinet on January 16, 2014, no single company/ legal entity, either directly or through its associates or interconnect undertakings, shall have substantial equity holding, that is, 10 per cent or more of paid up equity in both rating agencies and broadcasters/ advertisers/ advertising agencies.
Moreover, panel homes for audience measurement shall be drawn from the pool of households selected through an establishment survey. A minimum panel size of 20,000 to be implemented within six months of the guidelines coming into force. Thereafter, the panel size shall be increased by 10,000 every year until it reaches the figure of 50,000
The issue of panel homes is still workable for TAM, and as per sources, installation of more people meters are in the pipeline.
The directive regarding equity holding could prove to be a problem and puts a question mark on managing the stakes of Nielsen and Kantar Market Research, the parent companies of TAM, in the ratings agency.
The deadline for implementing the guideline is February 26, 2014, which is less than a month away.