Following Indian broadcaster NDTV’s legal action against Nielsen and Kantar Media Research over bribery claims, the Indian government has now stepped in with its own investigation.
Last month, NDTV filed
a suit in the New York Supreme Court, accusing Nielsen and Kantar of violating the anti-bribery clause in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, through their TAM joint venture in India. The broadcaster said undercover investigations had proved that TAM staff took bribes in exchange for overstating ratings for certain channels.
The Indian government is now collecting information about the measurement system, and questioning TAM about its methodologies. According to an official at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), the government intends to take action on the basis of the data it compiles.
Reports in the press say that the I&B is likely to push for an alternative audience measurement system to be put in place through the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).
Separately, Indian broadcaster Prasar Bharati has announced that it is also considering bringing its own suit against Nielsen/Kantar Media, over what it sees as discrepancies in its viewing ratings. CEO Jawahar Sircar (pictured) commented: ‘I am keen on taking legal action against TAM. But we are still in discussions with our legal counsel. The final decision will be taken by the Board and we will abide by it.’