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Delhi HC adjourns hearing in Kantar matter to 16 Aug

MUMBAI: The Delhi High Court has adjourned the hearing in Kantar Market Research Services’ (KMRS) appeal against the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s (MIB) ‘Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India’ to 16 August. The case was adjourned in view of the joint adjournment slip filed by Kantar.

It is pertinent to note that TAM Media, in which Kantar holds 50 per cent through IMRB, has formed a joint venture with BARC India to form a meter management company called Meterology Data. As part of the agreement, all TAM India meters will be re-deployed in panel homes selected by BARC India’s sample design.

In the previous hearing, the High Court had adjourned the case to 9 February following Kantar’s adjournment plea as the India Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had filed its counter affidavit late.

Kantar had moved Delhi HC on 20 January 2014 seeking relief from the MIB’s guidelines contending that the cross-media restriction prescribed in the guidelines would result in the closure of TAM and force Kantar to sell its stake in the rating agency.

It had also argued that neither MIB nor TRAI had the jurisdiction to frame rules for TV ratings agencies. It contended that MIB looked after content and TRAI looked after carriage.

Broadcasters, however, are in favour of the government’s guidelines for TV ratings agencies as they believe that the TAM ratings are flawed.

The UPA government before demitting office had notified the guidelines to bring TV rating agencies under the regulatory framework.

As per the guidelines, no television rating agency can have an ownership structure where there is a conflict of interest. They will have to have multiple owners, as under the guidelines no company will be allowed to hold more than 10 per cent equity in a TV rating agency as well as in broadcasting, advertising, or an ad agency venture.

The wholesale reform will also include a minimum panel size of 20,000 homes within six months of the guidelines coming into force and a scale-up of 10,000 every year until it reaches 50,000 homes. One-fourth of the panel homes will have to be rotated every year.