Nielsen-NDTV Lawsuit: New York Court Says Case Should Be Heard in India

Nielsen logo - H 2012

Nielsen logo - H 2012

The Indian broadcaster had filed a $1 billion-plus lawsuit in New York against Nielsen's Indian TV ratings agency alleging rampant corruption.

NEW DELHI – Leading news broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd. said Tuesday that it plans to appeal against a New York lower court ruling that a case filed by the broadcaster against the Nielsen Co. should be heard in India rather than in the U.S.

In July, NDTV filed a 194-page lawsuit in New York -- seeking damages for more than $1 billion -- accusing The Nielsen Co. of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by manipulating Indian TV viewership data in favor of channels that are willing to provide bribes to its officials. The ratings system in question -- TAM (Television Audience Measurement) – is a joint venture between Nielsen and Kantar Media Research, the market research arm of London-based advertising and public relations firm WPP Plc.

STORY: Nielsen Sued for Billions Over Allegedly Manipulated TV Ratings

In its lawsuit, NDTV says that rampant manipulation of viewership data has been going on for eight years, and when presented with evidence early last year, top executives at Nielsen pledged to make changes. But the Indian news giant says these promises have been false ones leading NDTV to file the lawsuit seeking damages considered the highest ever sought by an Indian company -- at least $810 million for fraud and at least $580 million for negligence and hundreds of millions more for a range of causes of action.

“The lower court in New York has been hearing procedural arguments on jurisdiction, particularly whether the U.S. or India is the appropriate forum for the case that NDTV has filed against Nielsen and Kantar,” NDTV said in a statement Tuesday, adding, “The lower court in New York felt that India would be a more convenient forum than the U.S. NDTV disagrees and will appeal against this decision.

"NDTV believes that this lower court's decision is based on several misconceptions, legal and factual errors, and this will be outlined in the appeal. The New York lower court did not go into the merits of the case on corruption in the Nielsen Process as used by Nielsen and Kantar through TAM. The court merely looked at where the location of the case should be heard. NDTV firmly believes it must be heard in New York, and we will pursue this on appeal in New York.”

In its statement, Nielsen-WPP said: “We are pleased with the court’s ruling in this case. We believe that this claim should never have been brought against Nielsen in New York.”

The statement further added that the court “dismissed the case on the grounds that the case could not be brought in New York and also because NDTV failed to state any valid claim against either WPP or Kantar.”