Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Will someone explain to me why the guys at TV18 stood for a minutes silence today sometime around five in the evening?

UPDATE : So if the minutes silence was for Mahatma Gandhi, isn't Octobe 2 already a holiday where we go without booze. Anyway, back to the point, would the Mahatma have approved of a channel like CNBC TV18 which promotes naked capitalism, or for that matter what would the Mahatma have said about the state of the Indian media today. Would he have approved the media showing women wearing less than he did, well I guess he would have but... Of course, one prominent news channel instead of questioning Mahatma's legacy in today's day and age, where kids in Delhi and Bombay, ask for a 'baldie' only to roll it up to do a line of cocaine. Where almost ninety percent of our population was born after independence, and over half are two generations removed from the freedom struggle. An India where police brutality today makes the Brits look like stinking angels. Of course not, that channel went on about how Nathuram Godse was a maniacal madman, and ergo (implied, mind you) if we were to vote the NDA back into power it would lead to a generation of Gandhi-killers...
Oh well!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Again and again...

Eight hundred Pounds a night suites in central London, escapades with a senior editor of a rival channel in an attempt to persuade her to join, which leads the promoters of rival channel to offer said senior editor a 'substantial' number of shares in network. Of course, and everything charged to the company. This is a really sordid tale, and I repeat, great material for television, which this blog is not. Which tonight's Indian of the Year hosted by Rajdeep TV will not be and by the way, R K Laxman is winning the award tonight according to 'reliable sources'.

UPDATE : Over at TV18, things are not as hunky-dory as they look. A large number of employees, both front-line and back-room will be able to vest their options in July and another group of people in November. Even though, according to sources there might well be another bunch of ESOP's doled out this June with the appraisals, it is 'unlikely' that several people will work out a further period of bonded labour. maybe if the markets crash in July or November, people could change their minds, but...
And the winner from such as exodus, well now that NewsX is dead and buried and though rumours abound that the NewsX crew might start another start-up and that NewsX is still on the cards in a sort of 'Janmat' style avatar headed up by a serial philanderer who liked taking mobile phone videos of girls, the big winner might well be UTV.
Watch this space.

UPDATE 2 : To underline everything, this was a release just issued. And by the way, please connect the first para to what you read below and figure out...

NewsX announces CEO departure

NewsX and its CEO Vir Sanghvi today jointly announced their decision to terminate their professional working relationship with effect from January 29, 2008.
Indrani Mukerjea, Chairperson, INX News Pvt Ltd., said, “I wish Vir well in his future endeavours. NewsX is on target for a speedy launch, and we will announce a new editorial head shortly.”
Said Vir Sanghvi, “I hope that we can now put the rumours, leaks and plants of the last fortnight behind us as we have separated in an atmosphere of goodwill and amicability.”
Rumours, leaks and plants? I wonder...

Monday, January 28, 2008

The End?

At every second bar where they play rock in this land of ours, The Doors' The End is the anthem song to end the night. That is the song that some people must have been listening to as the sordid tale of NewsX came (temporarily at least) to a screeching halt. Whatever happened there over the past few weeks might never come out in a no-holds-barred book. Well, you never know, I still think it would make a great made-for-TV drama. Of course, if one side does 'fictionalise' it, you could end up with something like 'Star Stories'.
Anyway, as Deccan Chronicle goes all out to launch their new business paper, they are making what it seems to be some very strange recruitment decisions. But then again, 'paragon' of journalism, that group is not. In fact, the person they seem to be tapping up to head their Delhi operations has barely three years in the profession and according to those who know him well, he takes instructions (read: stories) over the phone from PR reps.
Also interestingly, tomorrow will see the last of the 'Indian of the Year' award shows and the person will be a fairly suitable, non-controversial person whom everyone can hug. Like the Prime Minister, who was awarded by UndieTV. But, lets be honest, you give Manmohan Singh, who has been the most ineffectual Prime Minister in India's history (including that 1979-vala PM) the award? Shouldn't the Indian of the Year go to the guy who got the most headlines? Or the most SMS votes? Well, about SMS votes, the votes are 'weighted' so that a certain Chief Minister doesn't end up hogging all the awards. At a leading newspaper, NM managed a huge number of votes, much more than anyone else and they were so scared of declaring him the winner, they 'weighted' the votes.
My right-wing sympathies are not a secret, but for crying out loud! But, as a senior editor at a news channel told me, this is just a way for the marketing types to figure out a way to make more money and a chance for the reporters and editors to get drunk at the post-awards show ceremony. As he said, 'Who cares?' Because as another person told me recently, 'All news is entertainment and all entertainment is news.' After all, who gives a flying f?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Updates v10.1

Somebody should tell the folks at INX that if they made a soap opera about themselves, ratings would probably soar. At least inside this incestuous industry, it may not necessarily work in muffasil towns where designer bindi's worn by the K-serial vamps are in vogue, but in the media world, full of overpaid and oversexed, the serial would be a superhit. And did I hear someone say 'Target Demographic', can you beat a demographic of people like yourselves!
I should start charging a commission, because I'm tired of the story otherwise. The latest update is like that of a couple which are saying that, 'Yes, we hate each other, but we are staying together for the kids!' This is Charles and Diana in the Indian media world. Mint I think hits the nail on the head with this story.
So is this the end? Nope, I don't quite think so.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

X Update and more.

On popular demand, this is what we know. Meetings have happened at Jodhpur Mumbai and now a meeting is taking place in Delhi. Essentially the meeting is between The V and Pratim with a view to saving the marriage, but from all indications is marriage is beyond saving, and these talks are on essentially to ensure that the divorce is as amicable as possible. But with some is the News X camp upset at Pratim's wife's vitriol-laced attacks on them and their 'Dear Leader', they want their pound of flesh and it seems they are going all guns blazing to get it.
Talking about TV, it seems that certain builders with plans of starting a lifestyle channel with a soon-to-be-driving-an-Audi A4 channel head might have been pushed back a bit. But these guys intend to start a network of 18 channels in the next five years, all of them apparently showing off the virtues of their bungalows I presume. UndieTV's latest partner, NBC has sent over a group of Yanks to teach their senior reporters the art of American journalism. But you see, I do not think the problem is with UndieTV but such paragons of journalism such as News 24, which are so mind-bogglingly inane, I really worry.
Anyway, on yet another TV note, while everyone talks about the News X saga, another yet-to-be launched channel has been quietly building up an extremely solid team. The Govindraj Ethiraj headed yet-unnamed UTV Business has been getting some solid people, so much so that they have gotten CNBC TV18 scared and worse still, people at Undie Profit are dreading dropping off the radar to third spot in the business stakes. I don't believe Govind will manage to beat Udayan and Co, but I am pretty sure much like Mint became a #2 overnight in the business daily space, so will this channel in the business channel stakes. This news item about UTV buying out ITNation becomes rather relevant in this context as well, because I am sure Govind, a longtime blogger who is quite a tech-head too will leverage these purchases on teh channel. Should be interesting to track that too. Erm, I don't hold out much hope for Mint TV with their current staff, but is Mint TV an euphemism for the Fox Business channel in India?
What about NDTV Imagine? Well I get it on Tata-Sky, but I can't be bothered to watch it yet, but then again I haven't exactly had the time of late. But do make time to watch Star Stories on BBC Entertainment, fantastic show, and MTV's 'Meet or Delete' show I believe is doing quite well.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Another post.

The Indian edition of advertising publication Campaign (only click the link if you want to give them your details) did a hachet job on The V yesterday in a bad example of tabloid-ish reporting. The V today has written about the fact that he was born black and bald in an article arguing that Indians are racist, which happens to be a 'flavour of the month' topic following alleged 'monkey' stories. I would like to take this oppurtunity to point back to a post I had made in 2005 on the issue, where I argued that yes, we were.
Mint, again, has also seemed to follow up the issue (like they did on Times Private Treaties) I had raised in yesterday's blog-post talking about the soap opera that is happening over at INX where people are generally trying to distance themselves from each other. A NewsX insider told me recently that it was unfair to expect them to start the channel in six months, because it even took Rajdeep nine months to start his channel with a nationwide network and that is a benchmark, and if actual work started in July, March is the earliest the channel can possibly come out.
But, the NewsX and INX saga is getting a tad tedious now, even for me and we should move on to other more pressing issues, like why NDTV is sending out reporters for another one of their new channels in pink painted Ambassadors? No really. I saw this yesterday outside Palika bazaar. But, really, we will post an update on Monday following the Jodhpur 'meeting' but after that, we'll move on to other things!

Friday, January 18, 2008

More X-rated news!

My first post of 2008 has become the most popular post on this blog ever, thanks to a series of comments starting with this one and followed by this one. As was helpfully pointed out by other commenters later on in that post, the writer of this blog knows nothing about TV. Fair enough, but I did not write those comments. In fact, the information in some comments could only have come from a fairly close-knit group of people, five according to my knowledge and one of them will not implicate herself and a second does not understand how to hold a mouse.
Of course, subsequently, some random commenters from a distinct range of IP addresses have attacked me, calling me among other things 'Third-Rate', of course, Pawan C's underlings, or maybe himself don't understand certain technological innovations. My identity as was reminded to me today morning is not a state secret, though at the outset I must point out I have no connection with INX or NewsX other than the fact that I know a lot of people who work there.
So who startedrumours that 'The V' was quitting - UndieTV, RajdeepTV? Nope, it appears that the boardroom battle at INX Media has meant that almost all the scurrilous phone calls and text messages came from within.
Firstly it is no secret that certain people have fallen out at INX Media and that a certain woman has been turfed out at NewsX. This person who has been getting stories proclaiming her greatness written usually points to success of 9Xm, but with close to 40 crores spent on distribution which secured a '1+1' deal, 9Xm is currently riding on the prime band that is reserved for NewsX when it launches in March, if it launches.
Why if? Well, on Monday there is a Board Meeting for 9X in Jodhpur, where certain people will have to explain why the ratings and GRP's for the channel have been abysmal. With Sameer Nair and Karan Johar's NDTV Imagine starting on Monday too and despite my reservations about some of the programming, according to some sources Imagine has sold out inventory for over 18 months on some programming - Ramayana to be specific. Now advertisers have been complaining about 9X, which has led to the investors calling this meeting. I also know that 'The V' is not attending this meeting and according to a few people close to a particular group, this is because he is being turfed out, but as was pointed out me, this is a 9X meeting, not INX or NewsX.
Two things can happen at Jodhpur, either the investors pull out of INX or the investors turf out the husband and wife. If a third, and frankly unlikely situation where everybody is happy-happy-joy-joy after the meeting, it is very likely that 'The V' and his team might leave NewsX, because relations have completely broken down.
Pity that another great friendship between two blokes was ruined over buisness and a woman!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thought this deserved a link.

This story came out as a full-page story in Mint on Tuesday and refering to my post from a couple of weeks ago, I think it needed to be done.
On a completely unrelated note, Times' hiring continues apace in Chennai. With so many Private Treaties clients based there, I guess it can't be that 'unrelated' can it?

More news

This just in, to counter rumours that 'rivals' are spreading, The V recently held a meeting at NewsX to assure everyone that he is firmly in the saddle. Now, the question obviously is who have been spreading the rumours ? And what does this mean for the launch date of NewsX which is still set at March 15, or maybe earlier. Frankly, I don't care that much because yet another news channel won't make my life any better or worse, but I always thought this latest round of rumours which started over the past weekend were a bit off because NewsX has just hired a whole bunch of rather decent folks.
Anyway, Monday will see the launch of NDTV Imagine, and after seeing the promo's for the new Ramayana playing on Star Cricket while our awesome bowlers horsewhipped the Aussies today morning, I must admit I am really disappointed. The old serial two decades ago, was a great example of mid-80's production quality, but the new one could have been so much better. The graphics are horribly uninspiring, I mean look at the work that has gone into digital technology over the past two decades and it seems that it passed the Sagar's by. The show might still do well, but c'mon, I really expected a special effects bonanza, Indian epics are ready for a special effects bonanza, but no...
I must admit I feel a bit disappointed at the promos, and before you argue that these are just promos, the promos usually have all the cool clips anyway and these left me slightly cold.
And to those of you who say I'm a wannabe, shucks man, if you only knew... About me being a monkey, sure, but we all are, aren't we. Cheers. Not deleting comments just yet, but things have been said through comments and emotions are running fairly high and the IP logs on Google Analytics make for really interesting reading about where hits are coming from. Traffic has shot up to cross 400 hits a day over the past week, Week 2 of Jan had 2438 hits, quite a bit for a blog that potters along at an average of 1300-1600 hits a week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Paradigm change!

There are far too many times I see those two words in press releases, or worse still on invites, "Come experience a paradigm change in washing powders" or something like that. And invariably after sitting through the most excrutiatingly boring powerpoint presentation, where you discover the only 'Paradigm' that has changed is the ability of a marketer to come up with insanely long and pointless acronym, and the executive will mumble something about how "ABCXYZ" technology will dramatically alter your world view. But seriously, the only acronym that can dramatically alter your world view in my humble opinion is LSD, everything else is always bullcrap.
And the worse thing is that executives get snappy when you decide to ask them questions and point out that their massive 'paradigm shift' was actually developed by someone else six years ago. Of course, there will be the odd journalist who will pipe in over here with his comments, doing more PR for the company than the company needs, in auto journalism that chap is the quite entertaining Murad-san, who decided to back up RNT's answers at the Nano launch with his own quite unsolicitated comments.
I am not saying the Nano is not a paradigm changer, it is a dramatic change in the way cars are engineered and manufactured. But you see, Tata Motors didn't send out Press Invites advertising it as such. If a company has done something innovative, some of us, who know what the crap we are talking about will realise it, but try to go easy on the superlatives on the invites. Because if I end up attending something at nine in the morning and see a fancy looking copy, I will not be a happy camper.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

More Nano!

I have not even attempted to go to the Auto Expo since Thursday, the crowds coming to this Expo, 10 years after RNT unveiled the Indica at the same venue are beating all records and those silly protesters sitting outside, screaming and shouting have finally realised that the Indian middle classes do not give a damn, and nor does the media, because the media feeds off the middle classes. R.K Pachauri and Sunita Narain are keeping so quiet, it isn't funny. Yes, there are the couple of mails they fire off, but the fantastic PR job that the Tata's PR agency- Vaishnavi have pulled off needs to be complemented. Even more so, other than the stark raving mad British media, who are more concerned about losing more of their industrial empire (built on India's money, mind you) to India, even though I think the Jaguar and Land Rover deals are not that great for the Tata's, but that is a different kettle of fish.
Let's not get too caught up, shall we? Honestly, until one drives the Nano, no-one will know how good or bad it will be. It could be pathetic for all you know. I do not expect it to be very exciting since no Tata Motors product is, the Indica being very ordinary to say the least. Big inside, but not exciting, involving or anything of the sort, maybe with the new Fiat engine it could be, but...
Back to the media, Triveni Infrastructures, a Delhi-based construction company of rather, can't quite find the correct adjective here to describe them, but they are not a DLF, Unitech, Omaxe and Parsvanath. Won't call them shady, but there have been some not-so-encouraging stories. Now, these guys want to get into the media and some people who have sidelined in other media groups have joined them. A good-looking guy from an English channel has joined them as channel head and told me that they will beat NDTV Good Times. Fair enough, not that the mark is quite high, but he also added that these guys will come out with a lifestyle publication next year. Wow!
No experience in media, but you've got some deadwood and paying them lots of money, including signing bonuses in cash (no tax), well, I would be more than a bit suspect. I am pretty sure they will start but as other channels recently have proven, no matter how much money you throw, you are not guaranteed success, and how do I know that the channel is not going to become a giant advertorial.. for bungalows. If it starts, that is.
I don't know, but I am still rather scepital about this particular channel. I know that NewsX will eventually start in one form or another, but this one? Let's wait and watch TV, Nat Geo maybe.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I was there!

You've seen the pictures of the car, but I'll be posting some images of the madness that ensued before and after the launch. It is a miracle I managed to shove my way inside while fists and abuses were thrown at the entrance into the press conference and while going in a Vaishnavi (Tata's PR company) rep managed to tell me that there were some 1100 journalists inside. I have never seen so many cameras or camerapersons in my life, and if I ever thought that people whose job it is capturing images worked in wolf packs, today was the day.
About the car, it is rather cute and I will reserve judgement until I drive one, but I will admit that it is a fantastic piece of engineering. I don't know how much money Tata Motors will make on the car, but that is a question for another day. About Sunita Narain and R K Pachauri's comments on congestion and pollution, while valid stink of elitism I am afraid. People will protest against this car, but they should instead go after factories, after diesel generator sets and so much more. The problem with Indian greenies is that by protesting against the wrong things, they tend to lose goodwill. Remind me to cancel my subscription to Greenpeace. Don't go after people's aspirations guys, you lose goodwill. Tell people to consume more smartly, and tell our government to spend more wisely and not allow unfettered development, but mobility and communications are the wrong things to go after.
To quote Mr Tata on the Indian consumer...
"... he will aspire for more and as prosperity improves, that aspiration will be there for more and more people, suddenly it seems like that there is a quarter of our society that seems to grudge those people that improvement in quality of their lives based on inadequate infrastructure, based on pollution, based on congestion and you wonder if that part of society has the right to determine for the rest of society..."
By the way, really liked RNT's bit where he thanked the West Bengal government and he came this close to calling Mamata names. And also, I wonder if Apple Computer will sue Tata on the 'Nano' brand, but the Tata's are a big group so they would have gone through the legal issues.
Anyway, here are some of the promised pics and guys chill out on the pro and anti 9X talk. I have some interesting stuff on the new Triveni channel tomorrow.

The crowd at the launch, though a majority were journalists, there were also suppliers and other officials. In fact, the entire Tata group was there in strength.

The car on display, this is the standard version, no AC or radio and with a sticker price of Rs 1,00,000 which translates to Rs 1,30,000 on-road in Delhi, a 70K

The press conference hall was full of desi and non-desi journos!

Debasis Ray, Tata Motors PR chief conducts the press conference.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

'Teri Maa Ki'='Monkey'

If this comment in my last post is to believed... actually it is very believeable actually. I mean, we have all heard delightful Punjabi abuses on the stump-mic quite often, and that is a freason I actually enjoy watching Pakistan play on TV, the gali's are darn good fun, but I miss Javed Miandad! Abuses just sound wrong in Bangla, but seem to have a certain verve in north Indian languages. Anyway, enough about my fascination with dirty words, if you want 'sledging' or whatever it is the Australians call it, out of cricket, turn the stump microphones up. I wonder how saintly we will think our cricket heroes are then. This is just a suggestion from a humble cricket fan, because I am very certain that even the 'Men in Blue' give their fair share out, but I for one would like to hear the Ozzie slip cordon in full flow.
Anyway, I wonder if it is a bad idea to ask a business magnate about his sexual proclivities during an interview. Well obviously it is, but you know sometimes when you interview people you have this desperate urge to ask people something completely unrelated to the theme of the interview, I mean imagine how much more fun shows would be if you could question Bollywood stars about their drug habits or politicians on getting caught in high-end brothels. I've always wanted to ask a senior editor on air about his trip to Laos along with a former PM's delegation on what two obviously underage Laotian girls were doing wrapped around his arm, but alas! We are a conservative country where nobody does drugs or has sex and God save us if too much cleavage is shown on TV, and Priya Ranjan Das Munshi wants to save us not just from cleavage but also salacious news stories. India is all happy, happy, joy, joy. We're all on a giant extascy trip!
Plus, if you do meet me at a Press event and like my blog, please do tell me but there is an email address presstalk (at) gmail (dot) com where you can email in your media tips and stories. If you have something relatively unsubstantiated, leave a comment, even if you are one of those idiots who seems to have a huge issue with me. By the way, to the commenter who wanted to whine to my editor, I must point out that my editor has been aware of this blog pretty much ever since I started it and has occasionally told me to tone down, which I would believe I have done since 2005. Yeah, I've rubbed some people the wrong way along the way, but this is just an opinion blog, I write it like I see it!
Cheers and to the guys who told me they read my blog religiously today, thanks, but do leave comments once in a while.

Monday, January 07, 2008

United front!

We lost the Sydney Test to a bunch of cheating, lying monkeys, because that is what the Australian cricket team is. But what was even more surprising was massively united front the media presented today, 'We woz robber, guv'ner!' The Google News search shows that this is quickly deteriorating into an out-of-control situation. Wonder how soon it is before a demarche is issued by one government or another. Then again, I completely agree with what the Indian team is doing, as well as the media, and I believe that all Indian companies should quickly suspend all commercial deals with Australian players! Hit them where it hurts!
But only the Times carried a story on the front page, which has made a lot of people I know very, very upset!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I am so not looking forward to the 10th!

You see on the tenth, Mr Ratan Naval Tata will unveil his legacy. And while car launches can tend to become a abuse hurling match between still photographers and videographers, Mr Tata can rest assured that short of a major political assassination, the 'one-lakh' car or as the international media calls it the $2,500 car (from the $2,000 car it was 18 months ago) willbe splashed across every single front page. Even though The Economic Times carried a 'supposed' mock-up with an awfully high waistline and looking like a squashed Zen Estilo, it is unlikely that anyone will get an exclusive. But you never know.
All I do is that I will have to wrestle around the crowd on the 10th and it is going to be mad. Pictures will be posted here!

Plus I have been told that despite being critical sometimes I exude too much confidence in my own industry when PR hacks are trying to take over. I don't quite know how to answer that, I could start with the usual blah blah that news is changing, but I would assume the one reason that I am optmistic is because news consumers have more choice than ever before. The problem, as with Indian democracy, is quite simple, people don't always exercise good choices and vote for people with regressive, tribal policies, and I mean Lalu and Mulayam.
This post from last week spoke about bad choices - the people of Gujarat had to either choose between a sycophantic local press, which at least had an ear to the ground or Delhi's news channels which sent dumb bimbettes to Gujarat who found stories to fit their preconcieved notions of Gujarat (and NDTV was particularly culpable), quite blissfully forgetting the fact that the citizens of the place really liked the wide, smooth roads their Innova was travelling on.
Fair enough, sitting in our ivory towers in the capital it is quite easy to pontificate. But we miss the dichotomy of India between highly-educated upper middle-class urbanites and the traditional non-Metro middle-classes, let alone the dichotomy between rich and poor India. Until you talk to these people, you won't haver a clue what goes on their minds - and the fact of the matter is that in many parts of the country, these people will probably vote BJP. Instead they're being constantly fed Congress drivel.
The Internet has been touted as a saviour. But the story is quite interesting over there as well, and we will get to that in a future post. Before I end, I was tiold recently that I was considered 'left wing', and I really did not know whether to feel insulted or humoured. I mean seriously...

Friday, January 04, 2008


After conquering the North-East with the launch of a Guwahati Edition (putting yet another peg in the coffin of The Telegraph), the Times of India is about to (finally) conquer the final frontier and launch a Chennai edition by the middle of this year. For those of you who think that this is just another time that the Times 'Cries Wolf', this time the group is serious. After all there are so many Chennai-based companies with which they have Private Treaties. OK, kidding, but they are hiring for this edition. Serious!

Just to ensure that they are not dead and buried, NewsX has gone on a second hiring spree and recently approached the (decidedly right-wing) Political Editor of a national daily. While this person has politely not decided as yet, and given that NewsX will probably be yet another Congress propoganda channel, like the Congress really needed another one, they have lured away some senior print types of late. So a launch date of March 15 seems highly plausible. Plus a giant PR mail went out announcing new shows for January on 9X which is still free to air on Tata Sky it seems. But, NDTV Imagine's new Flagship show's adverts are quite sad - what is it with music shows?

Facebook is getting quite scary with an extremely senior journalist climbing on board. I won't disclose whom, but his profile picture is a cartoon. No Really!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back to business!

While the INX news is coming in faster than I can handle, now even colleagues are feeding me with dope mentioning screaming matches between erstwhile friends (VS and PM), I would like take this opportunity to pat myself on the back for managing to keep this thing going for three years, there have been times I've come close to saying 'Eff it', but 600 posts and a blog that is going into its fourth year, and one which had in excess of 100,000 hits last year, over 100 RSS subscribers in total. Not bad, I wish someone would buy me out now or pay for my silence or something!
Anyway, Sucheta Dalal has this interesting piece on a supposed email sent out by Rahul Joshi of The Economic Times talking about Times Private Treaties - BCCL's Private Equity investment vehicle. I have mentioned the serious problems such a relationship could bring up, but this is a rather detailed post. I cannot confirm the veracity of such an email, but this post does make for interesting reading.
To a commenter in the last post, true VS and RV did play a role in the spectacular downfall of CK, so much so that supposedly while RV was showing CK his papers at the Oberoi, VS was laughing at HTH telling all and sundry that CK was being fired. While there were many people who were not exactly happy with CK given his abrasive personality, many people were upset at the manner of his 'dismissal', because it seemed quite petty. RN as Editor of HT? Now where will that leave Mint!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

HNY 2008

Well, it seems like it was only yesterday that it was 2007! But Happy New Years folks and have a great 2008 and maybe this year, I could finally ditch 'K' even though it isn't exactly a state secret anymore.
On a media note, there have been two rather well-informed comments on this post of mine. The fact that the ratings have been abysmal for a Rs75 crore launch budget that 9X had is well known, also as of yesterday, 9X went onto Tata-Sky's ridiculous 'Lifestyle Gold' package which includes other gems like NDTV Good Times, which means wasting 30 bucks a month, which is incredibly bad value for someone who forgets to recharge his set-top box like me. Secondly, what will be interesting to watch will be the battle between Peter and Sameer, whose channel NDTV Imagine launches today or something. Not that I have watched either, but then again, I am not target viewership either. But I have this sneaking feeling that Sameer Nair, programming genius that he is will pull off NDTV Imagine, making Peter Mukerjea's predicament worse. Plus, as the comments pointed out, what happens when Viacom-TV18 channel starts?
What is interesting is that the crisis at INX have sparked off another rumour that Vir will return to vacant Editor's seat at HT. But if Mr Sanghvi goes back to HT Media, this time round he might have to return on Rajiv Verma's terms. Verma, CEO, HT Media has made investors quite happy and he has strengthened his position since Vir left, because VS and RV were supposedly not on very good terms earlier. Any which way, this is all pure speculation. But if News X does not take off it leaves a lot of people in the lurch, people who followed VS and Avirook to News X, thinking they would change the news world and that frankly is quite sad.
I'm not in any way implying anything about the viability or not of the channel, but with such a long gestation period, if I was an investor I would be worried. And if I had an incompetent person running the place I would be fairly worried too.