Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tabloid Mania!

But first, does anyone know when the Times-Reuters tie-up will give birth to their next channel - ETTV, a proposed business channel? I believe they are waiting for when the time is right, but with TV18 trying to muscle into the newspaper space with a proposed takeover of BS? Now, with FT itself on the block and WSJ a potential buyer (though rumours still abound of a proposed BCCL takeover of FT), the entire thing looks a bit weird. Of course, knowing TV18 they will to keep everyone happy (non-compete yada yada) spin BS off into an all-new company I guess as they did with GBN. Anyway, the this concludes the What-The-F*** Rumours of the Day section (WTFROTD) as I shall call it! Oh, maybe one more, according to someone I met yesterday, an IT mogul has his eye (and text messages) on an anchor for a relatively popular channel? Hmmm...
The launch of Metro Now, was the first in a slew of new tabloids coming to a city which has generally shunned tabloids. Of course, we have had Today for a while, but the less said about that the better, but then again, Today is re-launching in a 'bigger and better' launch. There is also the Swedish 'Metro' Free paper (Today's mainstay was free copies at Barista) coming in as well as a new Mid-Day with the Bombay Mid-day organisation running (Tariq Ansari) running the show. All these three will come in by the middle of the the year and the reason - the Delhi Metro.
The logic being that people want to read every morning/evening on the Metro while going home, and Metro usage will boom with the South Delhi-Gurgaon extension of the Yellow Line and the Mayur Vihar-Noida extension of the Blue Line. I already use the Metro on a daily basis, not too far, but because parking near my office is a pain and I can understand the logic. And that is why, I think despite whatever product they launch, the India Today Group has the upper hand. At Rajiv Chowk (CP) and Kashmiri Gate stations they have started out 'India Today Media Marts' (and they are proposing more of these stores down the new lines and other major stops and I believe an agreement with DMRC is already in place). The Media marts may make most of their money selling Nokia cellphones but they are actually nicely laid out magazine and newspaper stores, and while they do sell 'competing' magazines, Outlook, Femina, BusinessWorld etc are all available, there are no competing papers and I'm quite sure there will be no competing tabloids. You have hand it to these guys, they've tried to sew up the distribution game already.
Of course, they can be a twist in the tale, what if HT and ToI decide to distribute Metro Now along with the broadsheets in the morning, Mumbai Mirror style. After all, the main reason for the Mirror's success in Bombay was that it was free and its nice and easy layout made it ideal to take onto the train every morning. Now, that leaves the other two, and I'm still trying to figure out how they will do it. Other than CP, there are few 'vends' where you have people selling newspapers in the day, Delhi is quite unlike Bombay in that regard. It is not that people don't read, but 'how' they read - this is still a 'morninger' city.
However, that brings me back to the question I asked yesterday. Just how many papers can a person read every day and really how many tabloids do you want to read everyday, even if they were free? Of course, the converse logic to that is simple, according to media houses, the aspirational 'English speaking' audience is growing and they will like reading trashy tabloids and more trashy magazines. I still don't know if that will work, but my only question is where on earth will these guys find people to work for them?


Mrigank said...

One radio ad airing in Mumbai enlists umpteen uses of newsprint accumulated in households. All, except reading.

And many compensate their newspaper spendings (almost) through 'raddi' sales!

Anonymous said...

For the nth time, its Businessworld. ONE WORD. Why cant people stop misseplling it?

Anonymous said...

K - i don't think TV18 will buy BS. The rumour mill tells me that Ninan is asking for far too much - upwards of Rs 200 cr. Even if they do, they definitely won't spin it into another company. After spinning the general news properties into GBN, its quite clear that TV18 wants to be a "financial media" company on the lines of Dow Jones, Bloomberg etc". They've got CNBC and Awaaz, moneycontrol, CMW and the new brokering terminal thing going - a pink paper would just complete the bouquet

Anonymous said...

Rs 200 cr for BS? for what? just the brand? in a newspaper you acquire people ... where/who are the people in BS?

for 200 cr i can launch two new pink papers!!!

- owner of a media house

Anonymous said...

k, where have u been..
hv u hit the \'bottle \'
busy chewing peppermi*t ..err or writin for it?
your fav subjects are all in the news again..
any ideas on peppermi*t being given with the HT ala Mirror :)

Anonymous said...

what will happen to Govind if Raghav Balls buys BS? where will he run to then?

Anonymous said...

peppermi*t website requirs u to login bfore viewing any news items!

err.. !
very *very* few othrs do...
evn WSJ gives a preview bfore asking..!
not that one would mind..butt i w ould rather read am@r singh\\\'s bentley katha and its biz on other sites rather than login to read FE\\\'s ( !!! ) story
which comes on pg3 of first day edition ...!!