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TAM 'Loses More Networks'; NDTV Sued by Lawyers

June 17 2013

The legal and commercial ramifications of NDTV's suing of Indian ratings venture TAM continue: in India, two more networks are reported to have withdrawn subscriptions to the ratings firm, while in New York, law firm Sabharwal & Finkel is now fighting both Sir Martin Sorrell and its former client NDTV.

TAM 'Loses More Networks'; NDTV Sued by LawyersAccording to the Indian news source www.afaqs.com, two more Indian TV firms, TV18 and Star India, have dropped subscriptions to Nielsen / WPP joint venture TAM, which was sued for around $1bn by NDTV (New Delhi Television) last July over claims its staff took bribes in exchange for overstating ratings. Neither of the two had made previous public complaints about TAM's methods.

The original suit itself seems no nearer to being heard, never mind resolved: in May, NDTV appealed against a ruling by the New York State Supreme Court that the suit should be heard in India, 'though it named only Nielsen in the appeal.

Analysts interviewed this month by exchange4media.com and quoted by Warc said the two sides were 'talking different languages' and should be at the table to address the concerns involved, but some also expressed scepticism owing to the fact that 'the broadcasters who had a problem with TAM were the ones whose ratings had gone down'.

Meanwhile, Manhattan law firm Sabharwal & Finkel (S&F) is appealing a decision by Supreme Court Judge Cynthia Kern to throw out its libel and slander claims against WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell, claiming Kern made errors including 'usurping the role of a jury' and 'deeming some of the defamatory statements at issue to be opinion'. WPP repeated that it 'welcomed the complete dismissal of this frivolous and inappropriate law suit' and said it was 'confident that any appeal will also be dismissed, in its entirety.' The firm allege that Sorrell made a number of remarks damaging to its reputation, including mentions of 'extortion' and 'inexpert handling'.

S&F is now also suing its former client, NDTV, for $1.7m in unpaid fees after the network switched lawyers in April. The firm says the claim amount represents the 'reasonable value' of services not yet paid under a retainer agreement between the two - NDTV had said it owed S&F nothing more but has not yet replied specifically to the latest claim, for which a pre-trial conference will now be held in New York in August.

All articles 2006-19 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas.

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