When the Times of India (finally) got rid of Dilip Padgaonkar as a 'celeb editor' and then removed Pradeep Guha from his perch as a 'celeb manager', the Times Group has been running very smoothly with most editors and managers following their boss Samir Jain's extremely low-key style. And while others cry out that commercial interests have prejudiced Indian journalism, and while I agree with that contention, I tell those guys who cry out, that listen, the Times is as bad as the rest and honestly as long as you are charging a person one rupee for a newspaper, what on earth do you expect? The Economist? Though that said, the recent revival in the quality of the ToI product has been rather self-evident, and again while bloggers cry out against 'big media' and how the Times sucks, the recent Indian Readership Survey figures make for really interesting reading.
The Times already led Hindustan Times according to this survey last year, but a lead of 230,000 readers is no joke! And it isn't just Delhi where the Times has managed to break into such a strong lead, even in Kolkata, the Times is a strong #2 and I believe since the Kolkata market includes the North-East where The Telegraph has a strong position, the Times is poised to take a lead over there as well - especially since a Guwahati edition is supposedly in the wings.
So with the Times now on the verge of starting to carpet-bomb the country with new editions (with Delhi and Mumbai continuing to be the 'mother' editions) the question is why not Chennai so far? Is it because, as a journo-friend in Bangalore once speculated that no self-respecting Tamil journalist stays on in Chennai, since The Hindu group does not employ journalists rather it employs ideologues, or was (in true Times' style) a deal struck with The Hindu?
Now, before I begin a large (and subsequent) post about the continuous decline of EchTee, I wonder if the Times guys were aware of this upcoming disaster at 18-20 KG Marg. I mean, Delhi's #1 paper is quickly being relegated to a has-been, and with editorial content still recovering from the Kalbag imposed disaster, and the ludicrous 'no-poach' agreement with Times, I'm sure it was felt that award Shobhana the ET 'Businesswoman of the Year' (or the 'Liberty Tea' award for smoke without fire) would help. I mean, it does also help that your nephew sits on the committee, but you do suppose that this was Times' way of saying 'Thank You' for letting us screw your organisation over!
Man, I can be funny at times! And just wait for the National Readership Survey to confirm these results! And there are some surprises on the lower end of the spectrum too, but more on that later!
Have a great Durga Pujo everyone! And 104.8FM has to be the worst waste of the airwaves in history!