Friday, April 18, 2008

Going, going...

Yesterday during lunch I got the first of several SMSes alerting me that Jaideep Bose a.k.a Jojo, Executive Editor, Times of India is leaving for greener pastures - the reports are still conflicting some say to Star to launch Star's new newspaper/English news channel, others said he was moving to launch Raghav Behl's new business newspaper which has a tie-up with The Financial Times. Mint is jumping the gun and even writing a story about this tomorrow where Jojo has supposedly 'not denied' the rumours. Alongside that several other top ToI editors are rumoured to be quitting and joining 'other' (strangely un-named) places.
I may be wrong here, but I would go out on a limb and say that Sameer Jain is not in any danger of losing his top editorial staff. I am not sure that this is a 'posturing' game to increase salaries dramatically, but after all these folks have spent the greater part of the last three months trying to put together the Chennai product, and a decent product at that, I am not so sure they would leave. I mean there is something to be said about leaving 'on a high', but I have this suspicion that there is unfinished business to be finished at the Times.
As I said, I may be very wrong, but many of the people spreading the rumours have gotten it wrong several times before, but I am not at all sure about this. Be assured that you will hear more soon.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

well... times is very persuasive (read: can throw a LOT of money) to ppl they want to retain.

Only the foolish leave (and I might add foolish also stay)...

Yes, Jojo may be able to pull it off once more... after all he did snag a raise for himself and his gang the last time round as well (DNA fiasco). Took everyone for a ride (inspite of the brand guys protestations)

But I'd think the Times is better prepared this time, with Gautam Adhikari in their midst.

Life does look rosy on the other side... but look at Gautam Adhikari. All said and done, He's back with the Times.

Pradhan Mantri said...

You have a new reader and you are linked on my blog now.

Anonymous said...

There are lot of misconceptions about Chennai media market.

DC is not a success though it has made itself highly visible. Its circulation base is very good, but its advertisement revenue is not even par for the course. Despite what the accounts books show, DC, Chennai is not a winner in money terms, and is being bankrolled by DC, Hyderabad, which is a strong success. DC, Chennai by having a good circulation cannot cut its overheads. This is a classic catch-22 situation.

Its journalism (with a stable of very mediocre journalists --- this paper is notorious for glaring errors both in English and facts) has come in the way of it building a strong and loyal readership base.

The new New Indian Express, on the other hand, despite Aditya Sinha's enterprise and ebullience is always going to struggle. Apparently the paper has got some infusion of huge investment some where. That is why it is able to look fresh. But its new look cannot buy it readers, and except for an award-winning brilliant film writer, IE too has no strong writers to attract readers. All its fresh talents have flocked to TOI. Sad but true, IE is looking down the barrel.

The Hindu is obviously rattled. The price cut alone is not a give-away. After being too snooty and too ivory-towerish, the Mount Road Mahavishnu has now only deigned to feature local (Chennai stories) prominently on page one. The Hindu, with its strong political leanings, and the outright duplicity of its editor (Ram), who tends to preach ethics to others but doesn't follow them himself, has won the paper a lot of enemies. Rumours have it that Ram and his brothers are now at loggerheads on which way to take the paper. If Ram changes tack, and can inspire some good writers in its roll, The Hindu can still be a handful.

TOI, no paragon of virtue itself, is bound to benefit immensely in the short-term. In the one week since its launch, it has made all the right noises. Its local coverage has been extensive and, in fact, meritorious too. For instance, today's story on the others who got killed along with Rajiv Gandhi is a wonderful piece of journalism ---- something which Chennai deserved all these years (rather than the dreary voice of the establishment). TOI has begun well. But the road ahead is long, and all depends on how much dent it can make in the advertisement market as it is where the real and the all-important battle is. The Hindu has a good clique in the ad market, and there are many top men in the agencies who tend to be its men. (Chennai Ad Club is headed by N Murali)

The interesting angle to the ad war may come in the form of neighbourhood papers, which are quite unique to Chennai. The Talk Publications, which have a swathe of local weeklies, and the Adyar-Mylapore-Anna Nagar Times, have an incredible stronghold on mom and pop stores insertions, and also area-specific classifieds, which are the lifeline of most papers elsewhere. To be honest, the neighbourhood weeklies in Chennai make more money from ads than DC and IE. This is the harsh reality.

So far, The Hindu alone (among English papers), with its strong presence built over several years, had done well in Chennai in classifieds. Otherwise, it is all local neighbourhood weeklies.

In general reckoning, the fight between TOI and The Hindu will be interesting and will be even-Stevens for some time. DC will not make money, but will preen as if it has. IE will make the noises, but little else. The neighbourhood weeklies may emerge stronger, or maybe washed away if the biggies find a strategy to assert themselves.

All in all, it is an interesting situation.

raj said...

"..But its new look cannot buy it readers, and except for an award-winning brilliant film writer, "

Yeah, but what a writer, that film-writer!

He alone is worth the price of a week's subscription of IE though he writes only on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

TOI Executive Editor Jaideep Bose all set to move out

The Times of India’s Executive Editor, Jaideep Bose, popularly known as Jojo among his friends and colleagues, is all set to move out after a stint of over 15 years with Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, according to sources close to the development. His next destination is the business daily that Network18 Group plans to bring out through a JV with the Pearson Group of UK, which publishes the Financial Times. When contacted, Jojo declined to comment.

At the end of a retreat at Ramgarh, near Nainital, over Thursday and Friday last week, where senior editors of the TOI, Times Publishing CEO Ravi Dhariwal, and brand executives had congregated, Jojo is reported to have told some of his senior colleagues that he was inclined to take up the offer from Network18.

Jojo has been at the helm of TOI since January 2004. Prior to that, he was Executive Editor of The Economic Times for a few years. He began his career with the Times Group as Resident Editor of the Kolkata edition of ET sometime in the early 90s. He had moved in from The Telegraph of the ABP Group in Kolkata.

Arguably, Jojo has to his credit among the longest unbroken tenures as the top editorial person in Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd in recent times, if one considers his back-to-back stints as editor of TOI and ET. A low-profile editor, who prefers the solitude of the editorial backroom, Jojo has an enviable track record of leading a dedicated team to achieve editorial goals.

According to a senior level insider, what is a matter of worry for the top brass at BCCL is the prospect of a Pied Piper fallout with many senior and middle level editorial hands jumping ship to join Jojo in his new assignment. Having led ET and TOI in succession for the past seven to eight years, he can dig deep into the talent pool of the Times Group.

The Jains are believed to be still talking to Jojo to make him stay back. But that seems unlikely to fructify from current indications, in view of the fact that Jojo has been promised substantial stock option in the JV that will launch the Indian edition of the Financial Times. That is a winner that the Jains cannot match as BCCL is a family-owned company.§ion_id=23&pict=2&tag=25638