Nielsen is almost synonymous with the TV industry. While the analytics firm has delved far beyond the boob tube over the last several years, its foundation in the TV market remains strong and unquestioned.
Or has it? Apparently the company doesn’t have the same kind of pristine business practices that it does in the US in other parts of the world. Nielsen operates in more than 100 countries, but its alleged illegal activities in just one nation could be enough to cripple the entire organization.
Indian news network New Delhi Television Limited (NDTV) has filed a lawsuit in New York court late last week, accusing Nielsen of rampant data manipulation in its country.
NDTV alleges that other channels bribed Nielsen in order to have its reporting data manipulated, leaving NDTV to suffer significant amounts of revenue loss from advertisers and content partners.
The lawsuit reportedly seeks “billions of dollars” in damages, and for a company that pulls in around $5 billion per year, that could be pretty substantial.
Nielsen of course is not commenting on the case, but NDTV seems to have a lot of evidence. Its legal claim is 194 pages in length.
Among the damages the network is seeking are $810 million for fraud and no less than $580 million for negligence. Various other claims like breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference could catapult the financial liability even higher.