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Indian TV Network Sues Nielsen Over Ratings Data

A leading Indian television network has sued the Nielsen Company, accusing its Indian joint venture of providing “false, fabricated and manipulated data” on TV ratings for almost a decade.

The Indian network, New Delhi Television, or NDTV, says the manipulated data cost it nearly a billion dollars in advertising revenue, and the suit is seeking several billion dollars in damages.

The company filed the suit late last week in New York State Supreme Court against Nielsen; its Indian joint venture, TAM Media Research; and Kantar Media Research, which owns a 50 percent stake in the Indian business.

NDTV, which is best known for broadcasting a 24-hour English-language news station, accuses employees of TAM of manipulating ratings in exchange for kickbacks from other TV networks.

India’s TV business has boomed in the 20 years since the government allowed private companies into broadcasting, with dozens of channels offering news, entertainment and sports programming. But many Indian TV networks, some of which are owned by politicians and corporate tycoons, earn little or no profit, analysts say, because of fierce competition among them.