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And so it is! The NDTV-Nielsen fight is no more just a courtroom case but has now turned into a media battle. Reacting to the WPP statement where NDTV's lawsuit against the global company has been termed 'hypothetical', NDTV has called WPP's statement a PR exercise.
In its latest statement, the news broadcaster has stated that it is "baffled and amused by the PR effort issued by WPP. PR is clearly the main aim, as the WPP statement contains a number of legal flaws."
Meanwhile, in its defence (of WPP's claim that the suit has not been served), NDTV has said that the service was made on August 10 in New York, and processes under the Hague Convention are also underway as is the normal procedure.
Additionally, 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," the statement mentions.
The channel has further noted that while many may attribute sinister motives to WPP's statement which is full of factual and legal errors, NDTV would give it the benefit of doubt and assume WPP has made a silly error, which simple cross-checking through its internal systems will soon correct.
NDTV says, "We suggest WPP refrain from using its 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."
Meanwhile, in a separate but related move, the NBA has written a letter to Ambika Soni, minister for information and broadcasting, suggesting actions to be taken in resolving this malaise with the intention to protect the industry and all its stakeholders' interest. It has asked the ministry to:
1. Order an independent, third party, time-bound audit by a reputed agency to evaluate and measure the TAM systems and make the audit report public;
2. Take efficient steps to correct deficiencies in the system;
3. To help build a robust, transparent and dependable rating system;
4. And, direct TAM to suspend reporting data until the above is undertaken;
5. Continue to engage and work together on this issue and give the industry and all its stakeholders including broadcasters, advertisers and distribution companies the confidence to be able to consume data derived from such system.
"We believe these measures and initiatives from the government will go a long way in addressing this long-pending concern and we offer you our complete support in this journey," the NBA said in the letter.Major stories over the last 30 days