Times of India to shut down Kannada edition

8 March 2010

PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, the publishers of The Times of India, have decided to shut down their Kannada edition, published with The Times of India masthead, tomorrow.

An internal email has convened a meeting of all staff of the paper with CEO Sunil Rajshekhar at 4pm on Tuesday, March 9, after nearly a month of rumours of the impending demise.

The March 10 issue of the paper will the last for the paper which has been published since January 2007 under industry veteran Ishwar Daitota.

Rumours are that some of the existing staff of 55 will be absorbed to bring out the proposed Kannada translation of the weekly Crest edition of ToI.

Several versions abound for the sudden closure. The chief among them is that the paper’s rising graph was coming at the cost of Vijaya Karnataka, the Kannada paper purchased by the Times group in 2006 along with Usha Kirana and Vijay Times, from the truck operator turned newspaper publisher, Vijay Sankeshwar.

(Usha Kirana was turned into ToI Kannada to exclusively cater for the Bangalore (Market); the paper largely carried stories translated from the English edition of the paper although a skeletal staff produced original stories. Vijay Times was shut and turned into the tabloid Bangalore Mirror.)

Vijaya Karnataka has seen its market leader status diminish in the face of a strong comeback from Praja Vani, the Kannada daily published by the Deccan Herald group. Its ABC numbers have fallen for two cycles in a row. ToI Kannada insiders say their paper was being held responsible for the lack of growth of VK in the key Bangalore market, prompting VK to go in for an expensive relaunch and redesign to stem the damage.

For the last few days, Vijaya Karnataka was being supplied free with ToI Kannada in Bangalore to convert existing readers.

Another version has it that although ToI Kannada was gaining numbers (it was selling between 30,000-60,000 copies depending on who you asked), it was not attracting any advertising on its own; most of its advertising coming from package deals sold by ToI.

Yet another version has it that the management saw little hope for the paper, and only more expenses, with Rajeev Chandrashekhar‘s impending foray into the newspaper world to complete his Suvarna stable.

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6 Responses to “Times of India to shut down Kannada edition”

  1. mysore peshva Says:

    the closure of any newspaper is unwelcome news for our democracy… even a cannibalistic newspaper. it means one voice less in the marketplace of ideas.

  2. Vishala Manassu Says:

    Too many newspapers spoil the readers.

    I would like to see Kannada edition of economic times. A blend of agri and economics on a single paper can appeal to a large chunk of rural segment who are bored of cinema and politics.

  3. Shankar Patil Says:

    Closure of Kannada TOI is one aspect. However, the real cause of consecutive drop in circulation of VK is different. It is the blatant leaning of the VK towards individuals and party. The editorial board seems to have lost the objectivity of news itself. It’s a wake up call for the management of TOI!

  4. kumar Says:

    VK lost almost one lakh copies between 2005 to Jul _dec 2009 ABC..
    where as PV crossed five lakh figure. But, ABC figure JUl dec 2009 yet to be published offically..

  5. harshavardhan sheelavant Says:

    Its really a shocking news. Such regular unrest in press may lead to collateral damages in the long run. When Vijay Times an English daily was closed, USHAKIRAN -a Kannada daily was put an end, similarly now TOI Kannada -translated news paper. It’s not a healthy development that for sure I can say. For Industrialists it may be a mere shut down of business venture. But for professional journalists who are working there, it could be very hard to switch over immediately to other media houses. Hard time for their dependents and even more harder for the employees. Owners of the news papers should stop equating news papers with profit making business ventures. Better if they start managing them under a Trust. But this move of TOI was not unexpected.

  6. MAMATHA Says:

    IT IS WELCOME DECISION. BECAUSE KANNADIGAS NEVER ACCEPT PAST FOOD WHICH IS SERVED IN OTHEr LANGUAGE. TOI KANNADA IS DANGER SIGN FOR KANNADA PAPER INDUSTRY. I ALSO WELCOME IF BUSINESS PAPER COMES IN KANNADA.


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