Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bastard child!

On Late night with Conan O'Brian which used to air on CNBC before that channel became press release TV there used to be a regular vignette on what the child of a celebrity hook-up would look like. So, how will this - the unlikliest hook-up of all look like? In fact, a distraught friend from Hong Kong asked how this could happen - the temperature in Hell it seems has falled to 273 below zero and pigs are growing wings!
Well, lets see now, what do we know so far? Kamlesh Singh and Soni Sangwan will be the RE and DRE of the venture which might be called the 'Delhi Mirror' which if it is like the Mumbai Mirror, Times' alternative paper in the other city will be a vapid and completely pointless newspaper and it knew it. But then again, I loved the Mumbai Mirror, it was the best potty reading, and don't get me wrong a good potty paper is extremely important. It also means that I will get to read Shekhar's movie reviews, which finally will mean that Delhi readers will have decent movie reviews to read and a reviewer who has the balls to give movies half a star.
The problem is simple, where on earth are they going to get writers from? I mean look at media world in Delhi - the very worst journalists/writers are earning pots of money rehashing press-releases. So, where will these folks hire from and what is the competition like?
The hiring aspect I can't answer since I assume that the new paper can't hire from HT or ToI. Unless of course, the entire purpose of the paper is to serve as a shunting house for discredited journalists, of which there are several both on BSZ and KG Marg - even though I hear that at both places there is some serious shunting going on or plans of serious shunting. I mean there was a furious email from the new boss at HT asking why a senior bureau chief's copy had 'long sentences' and this after another bureau chief was fired some time ago (well, thats not the official kahani, but you know). And it seems people from both places are looking for oppurtunities elsewhere - according to the grapevine half of them want to join my organisation, leading to Bossman, much to his amazement getting some very incredulous emails and SMSes.
And then there is the competition - namely a new-look Mid-Day in Delhi (run by the Bombay Mid-Day guys), not the sad one we have here and a rehashhashhashed Today Morninger. Well, Today is very honestly time-pass unless you want to look at retuarant reviews which is all it seems to carry and well, it does have the best comics of all the papers but a five-day a week product won't cut it because their entertainment coverage is quite poor - too little TV and movies. Both the Mirrow and Mid-Day will eat it alive because of Bombay linkages, however, Today's ace up its sleeve is the India Today Groups Media Mart plan across the Delhi Metro system - currently they have two at CP and one at Kashmiri Gate but 14 more are coming up at high-density stations and that distribution edge could be a massive advantage. I mean, after all and I'm sorry to say this, great editorial content (even though I can pretty much guarantee you that all three papers will have pathetic content) counts for nothing unless your distribution structure rocks. But then again, the new paper will have the benefits of Bennet and HT's distribution, so Mid-Day is the one which might need help. But unless either of the three papers launch it will be impossible to say who wins.
But, I would really like to see this bastard child grow up, because its gonna be one heck of a kid one way or another! What do you think?


Bonatellis said...

ahhh, luuurrvved the first line and para 3 ... spent the last 4 days in Delhi, so can well understand where you are coming from :)

talking of bureau chiefs, there is one in Mumbai who can't even construct proper English sentences ;-)

thalassa_mikra said...

Kamlesh and Soni were both working for IBN, no? Is that going to be the source for the major cull, if they are not poaching on HT and TOI?

K said...

Kamlesh and Soni left IBN around two months ago. AQround the same time Sindhu left to join ToI's Edit Page team as well. There are several people quite unhappy at RajdeepTV - money and coverage as well as inter-office rivalries is a factor. TV is getting quite unbearable - TV18 stories particularly. The other day they had a story about how the Oil Ministry will use a marker in Kerosene and somehow the reporter added Gandhi Jayanti melodrama around the story. Which honestly was taking a business story too far. At the end of the day, the simple fact would have been to show how rich tanker operators have become. The first customer of a Bentley GT in Delhi was a Oil marketing company tanker operator. Put two and two together.
A recent Bentley GT buyer in Delhi Dark Blue, quite ugly awfully ugly, never seen a GT look uglier - numberplate 9999 - belongs to the hallowed Ponytail - so much for blog power eh?

Anonymous said...

K, the truth is that tanker fleet owners don't even have to adulterate to make their big bucks if they dont want to. Simply arbitraging the tax differentials and mileage charges paid for movements is enough.

For example, a fuel tanker moving from (say) Ambala to (say) anywhere in HP has to "enter" HP from Kalka, and then go back to its destination which may be easier/shorter by another route. Hill charges most of the way.

Likewise, with the ancient internal audit systems practised by our PSU oil companies, arbitraging sales tax octroi etcetc across state/city borders is beneficial too.

Bentleys? Some day you should work out who is beginning to control gas stations and parking lots and rental car franchisees worldwide. Ponytail and pugree, kee farak pendaa hai?

livinghigh said...

lol. to tell the truth, i looove the Mumbai Mirror myself - and though i dont use it as a potty paper (that distinction is stil reserved for my everyday cant-do-without TOI), i read MM everyday while travelling in the train - half in the morning, half while coming home.

and yes, i didnt know Mid-Day was launching in dilli.

cnbc-er said...

haha - snide one k, would like to see a post from you on the Biz TV scene what with rumours of bloomberg TV/ reliance-beeb doing furious rounds..

thalassa_mikra said...

Tanker operators are independent contractors with the oil PSUs? I can see how that would lead to enrichment.

Parking lots and rental car franchises I can understand, but anonymous, what's with the gas station ownership? Are you suggesting there are global monopolies in that business too? Or is this control through holding companies et al?

Horn Please!! said...

Yup, worldwide the fuel dispensing business is moving into demographics which head back to South Asia, and more power to the Punjabis, I say. Partition gave them a bad deal, and now seems we make an upside out of it, like the Patels did with motels in the US and now worldwide.

The world's largest holding companies are always linked to commercial organised religions, right?

thalassa_mikra said...

Very interesting. Horn Please, any names? Could you name any specific regions?

In a lot of countries, fuel retail is owned and operated by state oil companies without franchising. Till late last year, Indonesia's state monopoly Pertamina used to operate all the filling stations in the country. I think it's the same story in Malaysia.