NDTV v/s WPP: War of words over the Weekend

27 Aug,2012

By A Correspondent

 

I need another holiday, I told the boss.

But why, he asked?

 

Because since the time I thought I could bring in the weekend with a drink, the inbox has been inundated with statements from both NDTV and WPP.

 

Wait, why WPP? The case was against Kantar, right?

 

Oh, yes, it is. But Kantar is a subsidiary of WPP. And while it’s a listed conglomerate, Sir Martin Sorrell is bossman and he decides what WPP will do.

 

So while it was good to see the Big WPP Boss himself getting his hands dirty, I was a little surprised to see him speak to the Indian media on the issue. Interviews with Sir Sorrell don’t happen daily, so who wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity.

 

In one of the interviews, the WPP boss has even suggested that since NDTV’s lawyers essentially deal with litigations for restaurants, the lawsuit has been served correctly.

 

Ah, well.

 

Here are the six statements:

 

26 Aug: Statement saying WPP takes India extremely seriously. That it is “ludicrous” to say WPP is taking India lightly

 

25 Aug: WPP reacts to the 6 points raised in NDTV’s statement of the same day. Statement says Eric Salama responded to a mail sent by Vikram Chandra on July 27

 

25 Aug: NDTV responds to WPP’s statement of 24 August (as well as to media interviews). Stings WPP and Sorrel, and sad to read these words: we request Sir Martin not to take India lightly. We request him to clean up his ratings operation in our country and to refrain from using his global PR clout to perpetuate corruption in his India ratings operation

 

24 Aug: WPP issues a statement in Q&A form. Asserts NDTV’s decline is not down to any perceived failures in TAM data. In an interview with Mint, Sorrell says: “Nothing has been served properly. Nothing at all, that is why we call it a hypothetical lawsuit. The two-lawyer firm (engaged by NDTV) is based in Florida and it specializes in restaurant law. This is an Indian issue, not American. It is a bit of mischief on their part.”

 

23 Aug: NDTV responds to WPP’s statement. “We request that WPP should focus on honestly fixing (for want of a better word!) their badly damaged and dishonest ratings system in India.”

 

22 Aug: WPP statement on the NDTV’s “hypothetical” law suit. Says: “WPP is also giving active consideration to issuing proceedings against NDTV for defamation and has instructed its lawyers accordingly.”

 

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