Day 3: Now WPP responds to NDTV salvo

24 Aug,2012

So you read what NDTV said about WPP’s statement. Now here’s what we just received from WPP in Q&A form to make for better understanding of the situation.



Q1. In its press statement, NDTV has said, while they claim that the suit has not been served, WPP surely knows, or should know, that service was indeed made on the 10th of August in New York, and processes under the Hague Convention are also underway. What is the exact situation?



We are aware that the New York lawyers acting for NDTV have filed affidavits of service with the New York court claiming to have served the proceedings on various WPP companies. Despite this, valid service has not taken place and we will be drawing the Court’s attention to these inadequate and misleading statements in our motion to dismiss the claims in their entirety.


There has been a faulty, and clumsy, attempt to serve on one company, but nothing on the others at all. No lawyer acting on behalf of any WPP company has made any such statement. In fact, Kantar Media (Research) UK is not even named as a party to any lawsuit.


We are taking the unusual step of proceeding to dismiss the hypothetical lawsuit, despite the lack of any valid service, simply due to the attempted “trial by media”, which has been generated by the (unserved) lawsuit. In any event, there is no merit in the purported claims, nor do the US courts have any jurisdiction to hear any such claims.


Any claim should be made properly, in India, in front of the Indian courts, which are more than capable of properly hearing any valid claim.


NDTV appears to be blaming their poor financial performance on the ratings. NDTV’s financial state shows a dramatic decline, with its market capitalisation declining from around US $800 million in early 2008 to around US$60 million today. Over the same period NDTV’s share price has declined from a high of Rs 512.70 to around Rs 50 today. NDTV is operating in an extremely competitive market, and its competitors have also been in a difficult position. However, NDTV’s decline is not down to any perceived failures in TAM data.


Q2.Where and when does WPP plan to file the defamation lawsuit?


Answer: As referred to in its statement, WPP is considering an action for defamation and this consideration will include the appropriate jurisdiction.


3. Why doesn’t the operating TAM file the case?

Answer: TAM will be considering its own action.


4. You say that WPP plans to file an application in New York to strike out the NDTV lawsuit. When will that happen?

Answer: The application is imminent.


5. What else do you plan to do?

Answer: WPP is disappointed about the “trial by media” which has been initiated by NDTV. As we have said, TAM has been, and will continue to be, committed to working with the industry to improve the use of technology, coverage and transparency of the TAM data. A series of additional steps has very recently been agreed with the industry.

WPP is committed to working with all industry stakeholders: we would be very happy to work with the mooted BARC structure: we work extremely well with similar bodies all over the world and would be happy to do so in India.


6. You said in your statement “TAM has taken and continues to take stringent measures to protect the panel against repeated attempts at tampering by currently unknown parties and has recently agreed a series of additional steps with the industry to remove any question marks about the quality and reliability of the TAM data.” The timing of announcing these steps makes it look like TAM is responding to NDTV’s lawsuit. Why didn’t TAM take these steps earlier?


Answer: In fact the steps referred to are just the latest action in an ongoing process of dialogue and improvement in the collection of data and not simply a reaction to the hypothetical lawsuit referred to in the press



Now, don’t be surprised if you find an NDTV statement tomorrow… our inboxes are waiting! But, on a serious note, all of this is sad. And sad for the Indian broadcasting sector.

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