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WPP hints at filing defamation suit against NDTV

Claims it is a “hypothetical” law suit and that New York courts don’t have jurisdiction to hear such claims

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | August 23, 2012

Hitting back at NDTV, global advertising giant WPP has hinted that it is considering filing a defamation suit against the news broadcaster for its “hypothetical” law suit filed in New York against WPP’s joint venture company TAM India for fudging TV viewership data in favour of channels who allegedly bribed them.

In a statement issued yesterday, WPP has said that in the light of recent media comment, it feels it is appropriate to comment on the recent "hypothetical Law Suit" filed by NDTV against WPP and other parties on July 26, 2012.

“Despite comments in the media to the contrary, the hypothetical Law Suit has not, as of today, been served on WPP, nor on any of WPP's operating companies (the "WPP Parties"), referred to in the hypothetical Law Suit,” the statement said.

It further said, “In any event, there is no merit, whatsoever, in any of the claims made in the hypothetical Law Suit relating to the WPP parties, nor do the courts of New York have any jurisdiction to hear any such claims.”

It added, “Despite the lack of any valid service, the WPP Parties are in the process of issuing an immediate application to strike out the hypothetical Law Suit and will be seeking their costs in so doing. In the light of these circumstances, WPP is also giving active consideration to issuing proceedings against NDTV for defamation and has instructed its lawyers accordingly.”

Defending TAM India, the WPP statement said, “The legal issues aside, TAM India which is a joint venture between AC Nielsen Research Services Private Limited and Kantar Market Research Services Private Limited, is proud of the service it has been delivering to the market for 14 years, and the way in which investment in technology has been applied to the service. As recent developments indicate, TAM is committed to working with the industry to continuously improve the use of technology, coverage and transparency. 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.”

When contacted by BestMediaInfo, the WPP spokesperson said, "Our lawyers are reviewing the claim but we are satisfied that there is no merit in any claim against WPP."

Interestingly, as part of the original suit filed by NDTV in New York on July 26, 2012, its legal representative, Sabharwal & Finkel, LLC, had appended the following:

To the above named Defendant(s):

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED to answer the complaint in this action and to serve a copy of your answer, or, if the complaint is not served with this summons, to serve a notice of appearance, on the Plaintiff's Attorney(s) within 20 days after the service of this summons, exclusive of the day of service (or within 30 days after the service is complete if this summons is not personally delivered to you within the State of New York); and in case of your failure to appear or answer, judgment will be taken against you by default for the relief demanded herein.

Dated: New York, New York

July 25, 2012

SABHARWAL & FINKEL, LLC

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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