Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It has been a rather busy few days for me and the coming days will be even busier, thanks to circumstances beyond by control. Well, actually not circumstances beyond my control but rather because of a constant need to make more money. Anyway, while I also try to figure out some more guest columns from elsewhere and also try and get a grip on how the future will look for media on the whole, considering everything is going to be free, just read Chris Anderson's fabulous cover story in the current issue of Wired. I'll post a short excerpt from this piece, which is an universal truth about the media, but put brilliantly well.

"The most common of the economies built around free is the three-party system. Here a third party pays to participate in a market created by a free exchange between the first two parties. Sound complicated? You're probably experiencing it right now. It's the basis of virtually all media.
In the traditional media model, a publisher provides a product free (or nearly free) to consumers, and advertisers pay to ride along. Radio is "free to air," and so is much of television. Likewise, newspaper and magazine publishers don't charge readers anything close to the actual cost of creating, printing, and distributing their products. They're not selling papers and magazines to readers, they're selling readers to advertisers. It's a three-way market."

Well, I'll do a proper post around this sometime soon, but as Richard Hammond would say on Top Gear, it is time for the news. And we begin with Sakal, a Pune-based Marathi paper owned by the Pawar family. It is writing for this paper that Dilip Vengsarkar got slapped on the wrist by the owner's brother. Anyway, they feel they now need an English language paper and are on the verge of launching a broadsheet daily in Delhi which will supposedly be edited by Badshah (Anikendra Nath) Sen who was last editing the Kathmandu-based The Himalayan Times, Nepal's largest selling English language paper. After running a news organisation in the badlands that are India's neighbours, where I think Indian journalists might do well to spend a few weeks to understand what 'repression' is all about, I guess he would be battle-hardened.

And then there is HT, about whom we wrote that a new editor is on the anvil. The news was confirmed by three sources, then other sources denied it and now no-one knows what is happening. One story even goes that The V is coming back with people in tow. But, what is really interesting is how Private Treaties will pan out in the coming months. What is really interesting is the number of article placements of Private Treaties that is happening across the group, but even more surprising are the ideas that the marketing chaps come up with for their clients. You might soon be bombarded by a bunch of rags to riches tales, or riches to riches tales on places like the Edit Page of both ET and ToI. But with tens of thousands of crores wiped off the market, particularly of some of the rather long-shot scrips with crazy valuations, it would be interesting to see how valuations have been affected for TPT.

Talking about Times, it seems that their television channel Times Now is shedding people like the trees in Delhi are shedding leaves, which they always do in Spring. Spring in Delhi being just under 40 degrees. This after Times Now shed an investor a few months ago. Now, the channel claims it is doing well, and as far as news goes, it isn't bad, because they don't have the innumerable talking head shows that the two leading channels run, and nor do they run crazy campaigns when the middle classes feel they've been wronged. But, things are not going too well, and it appears that some senior ToI people have been asked to help out, which they have refused to do until they get executive powers. Watch this space!

And, I got this picture on email today and I was wondering why none of the papers carried it. If one of them did, please let me know, because I certainly don't remember seeing it in the brouhaha of a Tri-Series win. Click through for the faces of the guys, priceless! Anyway, looking forward to the Delhi Daredevils!


Smith said...

you must write something about this dazzling bit of journalism http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1155480

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link.. a really interesting read.
Well the 'universal truth' about the media that you referred to in Chris Anderson's piece was explained fairly objectively a few years ago by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in a book called 'Manufacturing Consent'.
Much has been said and written since then about the book so it would be meaningless for to plug it or point out it's fallacies on this forum. It makes for a very interesting read, though most people in the industry tend be a little dismissive of the thesis postulated in the book. And for understandable reasons i'm sure.
Anyway, i enjoy reading your blog... for a sample of what's in the book you could read this interview -

Some of the things he says seem too simplistic and are hard to digest but hey, at least it makes you think.

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Mumbai Mirror carried this picture. You can check that out.

Anonymous said...

This is a Metro Now picture clicked by Arijit Sen.

Anonymous said...

Chief, why don't you elaborate a little more on the exodus at Times NOW. All the good people have left them. Nearly 300 people, as I understand. The channel has nor reporters to speak of. All its stories are pulled out from wire agencies. But the Jains are not too bothered with taking Arnab Goswami to task because he has been able to hold up TRPs. Jojo would have been the ideal person to run the channel but given that he cannot stand Arnab, he is unlikely to take up the task of brining Times NOW back on track until Goswami is pushed out. The buzz also is that Reuters walked out of the deal after it got pissed with Arnab's behavious towards them.

Pradhan Mantri said...

I am impressed. This blog has information which surprises this Sardarji Economist Prime Minister

Lavin said...

Hey nice pic. Was lookig for this one after i heard it was published in TOI (which i dont subscribe).

Anonymous said...

The reason why Times Now's trps r holding is bcoz of its anti-china and anti-pakistan stance. This is exactly opposite to NDTV's.