TV9 takes serious objection to NBA’s ‘pernicious’, ‘defamatory’ references in its letter to BARC

image-1-Barun-Das-TV9 Network-dismisses NBA allegtions - MediaBriefBarun Das, Chief Executive Officer, TV9 Network, has released a statement describing the NBA’s allegations as ‘pernicious’, and promising that ‘this defamatory act will be addressed in an appropriate manner very soon’

Yesterday, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) had pushed out, in a press release, what was a private letter it had written to the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC), in which it had made what are apparently unfounded allegations with reference to the TV viewership ratings that BARC India has been releasing over the past ‘8 or more’ weeks, and alleging that the healthy ratings of the news channel TV9 Bharatvarsh were a wilfully inaccurate representation of its viewership.

Today, we heard from Barun Das, Chief Executive Officer, TV9 Network, which has released a statement saying that the NBA’s allegations which it has described as ‘pernicious’, with the promise that ‘this defamatory act will be addressed in an appropriate manner very soon’.

Here’s what Das has said in his statement:

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), a collective of news channels of which TV9 Network is not a part, has complained to BARC about the authenticity and veracity of their rating system.

The letter is addressed to BARC, a professional body of which all broadcasters, including the complainant, are stake-holders. We are sure BARC has very valid justifications for the way it works and would have responded to NBA suitably.

But since NBA’s letter also contains pernicious allegations about TV9 Network, its legacy and its people, they were constrained to point out that this defamatory act will be addressed in an appropriate manner very soon.

Incidentally, it is pertinent to point out here that TV9 Network, home to four leading regional news channels apart from TV9 Bharatvarsh – The No.2 Hindi News Channel – was more concerned about the lives of journalists than ratings during the pandemic.

That is why on March 22, two days before the Lockdown, TV9 proposed to the NBA that the ratings regime should be suspended for a few weeks so that the industry did not compromise the lives of reporters and camera persons in the quest for ratings. (Annexure 1)

The very next day, the NBA rejected the proposal. Now that TV9 Bharatvarsh has garnered the biggest share of the market during the pandemic, obviously the shoe is on the other foot.

Till very recently, the NBA was relentlessly courting TV9 Network to retain its membership after the Network decided not to renew the same on March 31’ 2020. On June 16, after due consideration, TV9 politely refused (Annexure 2). One month later, they are in the NBA’s bad books. Is this coincidence or coercion ?

A quick perusal of the letter, whose content related to TV9 Bharatvarsh ratings is often misleading, possibly reveals NBA’s lack of basic understanding of the television news business.

The fundamental reason behind our success is a concerted strategy of content, distribution and promotion aided by the astronomical rise in viewership during the early weeks of the lockdown. This has been discussed in relevant media forums openly, repeatedly and live. (Annexure 3 & 4) 

Last but not the least, the NBA also seems to give credence to some anonymous Whatsapp messages and videos doing the rounds to defame TV9 Network. These videos have already been dismissed as fake by BARC as per media reports. The Network has lodged a formal complaint with the Telengana police (Annexure 5).

Meanwhile, we will continue to stick to basics of business.

End of TV9 Network statement. Some of the annexures referred to in it, are reproduced below:

ANNEXURE – 1

REQUEST FOR SUSPENSION OF RATING TO NBA

REQUEST FOR SUSPENSION OF RATING TO NBA
From: News Broadcasters Association <[email protected]>
Subject: Suspension of BARC Ratings
Date: 23 March 2020 at 3:23:10 PM IST
To: Barun Das <[email protected]>
Cc: BRD_Rajat Sharma <[email protected]>
Dear Barun ,
This is to bring to your notice that even prior to receiving your mail this matter came up for discussion among Board members .There is no consensus among Board members for suspension of BARC . However ,we will discuss this on a con call asap.
We shall keep you posted in this regard.
Regards,
Annie Joseph
Secretary General
News Broadcasters Association
Mantec House,
2nd Floor, C-56/5, Sector 62,
Noida – 201 301
Phone: 0120-4129712

ANNEXURE – 2

NBA’S REPEATED PERSUASION

From: News Broadcasters Association <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, 27 May 2020 at 11:56
Subject: Annual Membership Subscription 2020-21-NBA – [ABPCL]
To: Barun Das <[email protected]>
Dear Barun,
May I once again request you please consider taking the Associate Membership of NBA. We will all tide over the crisis and I am sure there will be good times for the industry .
Please strengthen the NBA in these most difficult times with your support , which we value immensely .
Regards,
Annie Joseph
Secretary General
News Broadcasters Association
Mantec House,
2nd Floor, C-56/5, Sector 62,
Noida – 201 301
Phone: 0120-4129712
========================================================
On Tue, 14 Apr 2020 at 16:28, Barun Das <[email protected]> wrote:
Dear Annie
Thanks a lot for your mail. We once again had an internal discussion and for the time being, we may kindly be excused.
Hope you understand.
Thanks and regards.
Barun
========================================================
On 10-Apr-2020, at 6:35 PM, News Broadcasters Association <[email protected]> wrote:
Dear Barun,While we do understand the current economic situation, request you to please continue with the membership of NBA as an Associate member and not withdraw from the membership of NBA. We value the membership .
Please do reconsider the option and let me know so that we can raise the invoice accordingly .
Looking forward to a favourable reply from you.
Regards.
Annie Joseph
Secretary General
News Broadcasters Association
Mantec House,
2nd Floor, C-56/5, Sector 62,
Noida – 201 301
Phone: 0120-4129712
==================================
On Fri, 10 Apr 2020 at 18:18, Barun Das <[email protected]> wrote:
Dear Annie
In view of the current economic situation, we do not wish to renew the Membership for the FY 2020-21.
This is for your kind attention and needful please.
Thanks and Regards,
Barun Das
CEO – TV9 Network
========================================================
On 09-Apr-2020, at 7:36 PM, News Broadcasters Association <[email protected]> wrote:
Mr. Barun Das
Chief Executive Officer
Associated Broadcasting Co. Pvt. Ltd.
No.97, Road No. 3,
Banjara Hills,
Hyderabad – 500 034
Dear Sir,
Attached please find the invoice for Annual Membership Subscription 2020-21.
Kindly release the Annual Membership Subscription 2020-21 at the earliest.
In view of the prevailing circumstances due to lockdown please make the payment ONLY BY RTGS .
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Regards,
Annie Joseph
Secretary General
News Broadcasters Association
Mantec House,
2nd Floor, C-56/5, Sector 62,
Noida – 201 301
Phone: 0120-4129712

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