Today I went for a presser. Nothing special in that. Sunil Mittal was droning on about how well Bharti Tele had done, and unlike a Levers results presser he was right. With Revenues of over Rs 8000 crore and a net profit of Rs 1400 crore plus, he is right. Listen, honestly, this time next year Bharti Tele, a company that did not exist ten years ago will be larger than HLL. I assume they will have revenues of over Rs 12000 crore next year, but this post is not about that.
This post is about the fight between CNBC and NDTV that followed. My god, it was fun. I've seen journalists fight before, usually drunken ones at TC, but this was a 'professional' fight. No holds barred and not about a woman, it was about Sunil Mittal. Two fat, short, mustachioed men were fighting about SBM, how lovely SBM might have felt that he was in so much demand.
The tale goes that somebody was to get some airtime with SBM, or was promised, blah blah blah. I mean Bharti Tele is no small company with these results and now that NDTV Profit and CNBC are fighting for ratings this was good fun. From what Sanjay Anand told me this happened because the NDTV guys were not allowed something or the other and CNBC was because their short, fat man was more effective or not. Anyway, this led to the NDTV chap threatening to pull news, (unlikely, highly unlikely) and made a huge shindig with nice abuses, breaking the decorum of pressers, which are usually civilised if there is no booze, unless there is the 'gift hungama' when every tommy wants a 'take-home'. Anyway, in the process SBM got manhandled by these two cry-babies, the print and wire guys (your writer included) were laughing while enjoying The Oberoi's version of a Cheesecake (it was frozen, I thought cheesecakes are meant to be well cheesy) and SBM ran away.
Later, I caught SBM, some question about bonus issues and dividends I wanted to ask, but sllipped in this tamasha. He just sighed. But, the man realises the key to a good stock price is good media coverage and after today, he doesn't know if its worth it.
That said, Senjam RS, Bharti's PR chap (formerly the guy was in Samsung) should lose this job as well. Because ultimately I think it was his fault.