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Court stays cross ownership rule for India's TV ratings firms

Kantar Media has been given two weeks' relief by the Delhi High Court to register TAM Media Research, the Indian TV audience measurement company it co-owns, under new government guidelines.

The guidelines, announced on 16 January 2014, prevent any company or legal entity from having paid-up equity in excess of 10% simultaneously in rating agencies and broadcasters, advertisers or advertising agencies.

Kantar, which has a 50% stake in India's 15-year-old TV ratings company TAM Media Research, is owned by the global advertising giant WPP – which would exclude it from continuing operation. Nielson India owns the other 50% of the Mumbai-based ratings agency.

The deadline for registration to operate a TV audience measurement company under the new rules is 15 February 2014. However, Justice Manmohan has extended the time TAM has to comply with the other guidelines to 1 March.

He also stayed the start of the clause that prevents existing TV audience measurement companies from publishing ratings data until they comply with the provisions of the new guidelines. TAM is the exclusive provider of TV audience measurement data in India.

The policy framework for regulating television ratings agencies, originally drafted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), were approved by the cabinet on 9 January 2014.

The court will hear the matter again on 6 March.


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