Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Uncle has landed

OK, since Uncle Rupert is in India after many years the rumour mills have gone into overdrive. Here is just a sampling of what we have heard, and what I believe will be the likelihood of the rumour coming through. Again, these are just rumours and my opinions, so let's not think I'm puppetting someone else here, OK?

- Uncle M will launch an Indian edition of the Asian WSJ
This is a rather strong rumour, remember Uncle M bought the WSJ after the WSJ-HT Media deal for Mint. But, I really do like Mint and I think that it is a nice product (even if it is a bit thin on news per se), so I wouldn't want this to happen, but you know Uncle M... he wants control. Therefore, there is also a possibility according to one rumour that HT Media will spin off Mint into a JV with Uncle M. Hmmm....

- Uncle M wants to launch a facsimilie edition of the London Times (aka 'The Times' - you know the real deal)
Erm, very likely but while JC and AA Gill are regular columnists in the paper, which I like, would you buy it? I mean facsimilie editions telling you how white yobs are beating and stabbing people across the UK?

- Uncle M wants to bring 'The Sun' brand to India
If the Daily Mail can come in why can't The Sun. I say don't bring it without the Page 3 girls. No really, Murdoch invented Page 3 and his Page 3 is a lot frikkin nicer than the paid-for spots in Indian papers. Do note that, the link while work safe initially, does get a bit steamy if you click through.

- Murdoch will buy the Indian Express.
Unlikely, because why would someone want to buy the Express. They don't even own much of their land anymore.

- And the big one, will Uncle M dump Aveek Sarkar?
The fact that the ABP Group is in trouble is as open a secret as Business Standard's problems. BusinessWorld had around 50 edit pages in its last issue, The Telegraph is a small regional daily and ToI is gradually eating into its readership, and BCCL is already eating up the adverts, thanks to their sales staff. Small localised Bengla papers are killing the motherbrand as well. Star News wants to grow, Uday Shankar has done a great job, they want to get into more news ventures - English and Business news is what we have heard.
This rumour is strengthened by the fact that Aveek Sarkar happens to be far from India while Uncle M and his hot wife visit the country. But, if not ABP than whom? The man whose airline is on the verge of collapsing while Carlsberg steals away the market and his F1 Team strengthen their hold at the bottom of the grid? Nope. Even VJM won't try to enter into a relationship with the 'Real' Uncle. So whom... Read on...

- Here is the super-duper wild one - Uncle M will tie-up with BCCL...
You know, it really is too wild...
I have not been smoking and you know, ten years ago if you told me that I could fit eight gigs of memory into something the size of my fingernail in a decade I would have thought that you were on some really strong LSD. This is highly unlikely, given how BCCL has fought FDI tooth and nail. But who else gives you the reach? The presence? The marketing muscle? The management bandwidth? The journalists? Nobody else. And as we have said, Uncle M is the most powerful man in the world, so raising money should not be a problem, because BCCL will cost a bomb, but I would never say never.


Anonymous said...

After seeing that picture, you should call him 'Lecherous Old Uncle M'... That wife is HAWT!

Anonymous said...

Noticed that you have different tagline now! What happened to 'removing skeletons form the closet' bit??

Will all the dirt get brushed safely inside the carpets from now on??

Awaiting your response..

Anonymous said...

Take the wild one a little further.

1) BCCL needs the money for global acquisitions.

2)BCCL does not want Uncle's money.

3) No one who is completely independent of Uncle Rupert has the chunk of change lying around for a media investment

4) Q: Why does BCCL need so much money? Trinity Mirror is all said and done, small change for BCCL.

5) A: FT. (Yes, you got that right. FT. Pearson is sick of FT. Pearson makes more money from the other businesses. FT just about turned around)

6) Uncle Rupert says. Take my money. I'll put you and your bro and/or your daughter on my board along with a chunk of stock.

7) You go buy FT and Trinity Mirror and everything else in between. Which I can't because the competition hawks will have me for lunch.

8) You and I own the media markets in the developed and emerging worlds

9) Irony: What happens to the TV 18 - FT venture?

10) Smarts: One man called Jaideep Bose, who didn't jump ship

11) Idiot: Me. (for reasons best left unsaid)

KMN said...

I never said Murdoch is here to buy the Express, I meant that a media company like the express is a good buy. It might not be doing well now and its asset base might not be that good.

but it has plenty of intangible value ...sure it does not do well as TOI, but it has editions in every metro and it does have some sort of a decent readership and it would be availible for a discount right now...its the kind of thing that attracts people like Murdoch, i would buy it if i had the money...and almost everybody knows the indian express, so it would not be hard to convince people to give it a try under a new owner and with plenty of hype as long as it s combined with substance/tangible value for readers...

if anyone can take on BCCL, its really only the express, it has the s not limited to a few cities like HT or like Hindu very a revamping of its brand will be not difficult, a new newspaper cannot really compete with TOI in terms of size....and Murdoch is known for such things...

Anonymous said...

Headline shd hv been 'The eagle has landed'. apart from its pop recall, that's how murdoch is viewed by most of the industry - an eagle, a predator. but njoyd it all :)