New Delhi TV Wants Nielsen Case Tried In U.S.

Indian TV network New Delhi Television has urged the New York State Supreme Court not to throw out its nearly $1 billion breach of contract and negligence lawsuit against Nielsen, WPP and various units of the two companies as the defendants requested last month.

The suit, filed earlier this year, centers on what NDTV alleges are inaccurate and “corrupt” ratings delivered by an Indian TV ratings company called TAM, jointly owned by Nielsen and WPP subsidiaries.

In November, Nielsen pushed for dismissal of the suit, arguing that  India was the appropriate venue for a lawsuit, not New York. WPP, which filed a separate request to dismiss the suit in August, also joined the Nielsen petition to have the case thrown out.

But in a motion filed Dec. 7 NDTV disagreed, arguing that New York was the more appropriate venue for the suit. “At its core, this action is about Nielsen, a New York-based global enterprise that has successfully marketed and profited from its U.S.-originated television ratings system called the ‘Nielsen Process,’” NDTV submitted.

That process is controlled from New York, and Nielsen uses that process to generate ratings that its sells to advertisers, agencies and TV companies around the world, the network added. “Broadcasters like NDTV are dependent on these ratings.”

NDTV also submitted that Nielsen and WPP’s Kantar conducted an investigation, in response to NDTV complaints, that was led from New York and confirmed the inaccuracies and other flaws within the TAM system. According to the NDTV court filing, Nielsen’s investigation found “problems that were so unconscionable that [Nielsen Chief Security Officer Robert] Messemer stated that through his professional career he had never seen anything like the ‘absolutely shocking and unf…ing-believable’ corruption at Nielsen and TAM in India.”

NDTV alleges that the defendants agreed to follow up on the investigation and fix the problems, but never did.

India would be an inappropriate alternative venue to try the case, NDTV argues, because many of the defendants may not be subject to personal jurisdiction there. Also, Indian courts don’t permit pre-trial discovery from non-parties, which would limit NDTV’s ability to present its case. The case could take 20 years to fully litigate (including appeals) in the Indian judicial system, known for its “significant delays.”

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