Six questions again from NDTV to WPP

The media battle continues with NDTV raising a few more questions to WPP in context to alleged corruption in TAM ratings system in India

e4m by Noor Fathima Warsia
Updated: Aug 27, 2012 6:23 PM
Six questions again from NDTV to WPP

It may be WPP and NDTV’s effort to curb the trial by media but the NDTV lawsuit against TAM Media Research and its parent companies Nielsen and Kantar is now definitely taking turning into a prolonged media battle.

NDTV has pointed out six more questions, some of which were part of its preliminary lawsuit filed in the New York State Court on July 26, 2012.

NDTV asks:

“Is it true that on the April 11 2012, the head of security for Nielsen, Robert Messemer admitted to severe corruption in the TAM system? And that the head of research, Paul Donato admitted to other severe errors in TAM data and systems?”

“Is it true that Nielsen and Kantar launched their own investigation in January this year, following which they witnessed and verified details about corruption in the system, including audio and video recordings, and statements from a whistleblower?”

“Is it true that the CEO of Kantar, Eric Salama apologized to NDTV at the meeting on April 11, after hearing Mr. Messemer, and promised immediate action?”

“Is it true that Sir Martin Sorrell was personally informed about the problems in August 2011, in the presence of several witnesses? What were the specific steps that were taken after this?”

“Is it true that the flawed TAM data continues to be published, despite an assurance that it would be stopped on the 31st July?”

“Is it true that other broadcasters and NDTV have been pointing to flaws in the TAM system for years? And that the News Broadcasters Association of India has now asked for TAM ratings to be suspended till issues are resolved?”

NDTV claims that the issues with TAM ratings were first raised by NDTV eight years ago, when it was a clear undisputed number one even according to TAM Media Research. The preliminary statement shows that there mail exchanges on clarification on TAM data between Dr Prannoy Roy and his team with TAM Media Research CEO LV Krishnan and team. The prelim statement has also documented all responses by TAM Media Research in its effort to clarify NDTV’s queries.

NDTV reiterates that in all its conversations, there was no talk of “financial settlement”. The ask for damages was only in its lawsuit. It may be recalled NDTV asked for USD 580 million for negligence, a minimum of USD 810 million for fraud – so a minimum of USD 1.3 billion – and other charges against this complaint.

The statement also said that in its statement on August 25, 2012, NDTV said that its lawyers had made no approach for settlement after the lawsuit was filed and communicated. The statement said, “This is perfectly true. The email from NDTV CEO Vikram Chandra, which WPP has selectively quoted from, was in fact the communication of the lawsuit to Nielsen and Kantar. It was a lengthy mail containing details of the suit, the cause for damages and the reason why it was filed in the USA. As is routine in such communications, it also contained an invitation to talk, together with the attached lawsuit. Just as we have been working for a long period together with Nielsen, Kantar and TAM to repair their system in India.”

While it may appear to be slightly late in the day, NDTV has said that it has no desire to get into a prolonged trial by media with WPP. As informed sources state, this is not the last we have heard from either companies on the case.

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