Posts Tagged ‘Zee’

The media Marwari who’s a ‘proper Tam-Brahm’

8 March 2014

goenka

After a long period away from the arclights, Viveck Goenka, the scion of one of India’s most influential newspapers, The Indian Express, is slowly bouncing into the main frame.

He is now playing an increasingly hand’s-on role at his own paper, making key decisions; is seen at media events, is making his presence felt on industry bodies—and is starting to give interviews.

In his first formal powwow in 20 years, in a special issue on Marwaris in the business magazine Forbes India, the chairman of the Express group, talks fondly of his grandfather, the late Ramnath Goenka, and even poses with his son Anant Goenka in a photograph (above) in the paper’s presses.

Viveck Goenka tells Forbes India:

# “Ramnathji taught us never to compromise on editorial values and freedom… to be fearless and not to be aligned to any political party. I have had a whole lot of people threatening me.”

# “There was one thing clear about Ramnathji. ‘If I have an end-goal, I don’t care how I reach that…’ I agree with him but not everyone does.”

# “I see myself as a proper Tamilian Brahmin [Goenka grew up in Tamil Nadu], that’s my upbringing.”

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The chairperson and editorial director of Hindustan Times, Shobhana Bhartia; Subhash Chandra and his son Punit Goenka of Zee; Gulab Kothari and his sons Nihar Kothari and Siddharth Kothari of Rajasthan Patrika, are the other media Marwaris featured.

The interviews give an inside view of the austere and conservative business and management ethic of the original media Marwaris, which later generations are eagerly dismantling.

# Shobhana Bhartia: “When we started innovative advertisements, my father [K.K. Birla] was taken aback. ‘No, we can’t do this. You can’t affect page one, can’t place something in the middle of it.’ I can understand that his generation was not used to these things. He felt colour pages would be more like a comic book.”

# Anant Goenka: “[As a Marwari, I have] an inherent drive to spend wisely and to build wealth. Whether large or small, [the 2,500 sq ft bachelor pad he bought after running up hefty hotel bills] is our own. It’s a Marwari thing. We are obsessed with appreciation.”

# Punit Goenka: “It is clear that we are in the business to make money; we are not here for charity or for building power or influence.”

# Gulab Kothari: “If you borrow money for growth, I believe you can’t reverse that decision. The question is, do I give my children 100 per cent of the business or leave them to deal with an outsider who I sold a stake to? My view is, expand less and gradually… we don’t need to jump the gun by taking debt.”

The Marwaris who own The Times of India group, Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Jagran “did not participate in the story or were not available”.

Photograph: courtesy Forbes India

Also readWhen Samir served a thali, Vineet served a scoop

‘Zee is the only news channel making money’

Not just a newspaper, a no-paid-news newspaper!

1 November 2013

bhaskarnews

It speaks for the level of distrust that the media has managed to earn for itself that the front page of the Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar carries an emblem in Hindi (right) alongside the masthead, in the space usually reserved for ear-panel advertisements, proclaiming “No Paid News”.

dna

Two years ago, the Bombay newspaper DNA, in which the Dainik Bhaskar group held a stake (which it later divested in favour of Subhash Chandra‘s Zee) too carried a similar logo.

When The Hindu started printing an edition from Mohali in 2011, its then editor-in-chief N. Ram made a front-page declaration that it would not serve up news that somebody else has paid for”.

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Dainik Bhaskar‘s “No Paid News” emblem, however, does not appear in Divya Bhaskar, the Gujarati paper owned by the group.

The paper was in the news last Sunday when it carried a front-page, eight-column flyer-interview by Dhimant Purohit on Sunday, quoting the State’s chief minister Narendra Modi as saying that India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had not attended the funeral of home minister Vallabhbhai Patel.

Dainik Bhaskar too carried the Divya Bhaskar story as a page-one, eight-column flyer, but two days later, Divya Bhaskar later printed a front-page “clarification”

Soon after the clarification, Modi tweeted, “Divya Bhaskar has clarified on a statement about Sardar Patel’s funeral wrongly attributed to me. I thank them for it.”

et

In a simple but smart use of archival material, The Economic Times ran a graphic, containing the front-page of The Times of India, which called Modi’s (and Divya Bhaskar‘s) bluff.

Images: courtesy Divya Bhaskar, Dainik Bhaskar, The Economic Times

Also read: Good morning, your paper is free of paid news

A paper without paid news for North Indians

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‘Media’s Modi-fixation needs medical attention’

How Narendra Modi buys media through PR

Modi‘s backers and media owners have converged’

‘Network18′s multimedia Modi feast, a promo’

For cash-struck TV, Modi is effective TRP

Subhash Chandra: 7 rules for media success

29 June 2013

In the seventh anniversary issue of Outlook Business*, Zee TV bossman Subhash Chandra offers seven rules for success in the media:

1) Don’t take your position for granted: Even if you’ve been No.1 for a long while, always remember to guard your turf

2) Don’t ignore the rural market: Through its direct-to-home business, Zee reached out to a market that had no access to television

3) Look for opportunities in allied businesses: Over the years, along with television broadcasting, Zee has entered online lotteries, cricket, cable TV and DTH

4) Be ready to constantly improvise your convergence strategy: Over the years, Zee has stepped up the cable distribution game and it has paid off for the group

5) Ensure your programming is always cost-effective

6) Make sure one revenue stream is always robust: Steady growth in subscription revenue will reduce the dependence on advertising

7) There is always an opportunity in sports

* Disclosures apply

Photograph: courtesy Forbes

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Also read: Ramachandra Guha‘s 12 and a half steps for journalists

Vinod Mehta‘s seven rules for young journalists

V.S. Naipaul‘s seven rules for writers

Garrison Keillor‘s seven rules for reading the newspaper

William Safire‘s 18 steps to better writing

Prashant Panjiar‘s eight steps to better photography

Raghu Rai‘s five tips for photographers

Shekhar Gupta storms into India Today powerlist

19 April 2013

Thirteen out of India Today magazine’s 2013 ranking of the 50 most powerful people in India have interests in the media, but only two of them (former Indian Express editor Arun Shourie, Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta) are pure-play journalists.

The chairman of the press council of India, Justice Markandey Katju, is a new entry at No. 50, just as Gupta is at No. 45, Hindustan Times bosswoman Shobhana Bhartia at No. 39 and Star India CEO Uday Shankar at No. 26.

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No. 1: Mukesh Ambani, chairman, Reliance Industries and “virtual owner” of TV18 (up from No. 3 in 2012)

No. 4: Kumaramangalam Birla, chairman Aditya Birla group, and 27.5% stake holder in Living Media (up from No. 5): “sings Hindi film songs, although only in close family circles”

No. 7: Samir Jain and Vineet Jain, The Times of India, down from No.6 last year

No. 26: Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India (new entry)

No. 28: Kalanidhi Maran, chairman and MD of Sun Group (up from 49 last year)

No. 31: Mahendra Mohan Gupta and Sanjay Gupta, chairman and CEO, Dainik Jagran (No. 31 last year)

No. 35: Subhash Chandra, chairman, Zee television and DNA (No. 35 last year)

No. 39: Shobhana Bhartia, chairman and editorial director, HT Media (new entry): Her home in Friends Colony (West) in Delhi was acquired from the erstwhile royal family of Jind.

No. 36: Raghav Bahl, MD, Network 18 (up from No. 44)

No. 38: Arun Shourie (new entry): His dictum: “We must learn to be satisfied with enough and enough is what we have at the moment.”

No. 41: Arnab Goswami (up from 46): “Plays loud music on his iPod before every show to unwind.”

No. 45: Shekhar Gupta (new entry)

No. 50: Justice Markandey Katju, chairman, press council of India (new entry): The Ph.D. in Sanskrit asked Lucknow lawyer S.K. Kalia who entred his court, ‘Ab tera kya hoga Kalia‘?

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Photograph: courtesy Indian Express

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Also read: 12 media barons worth 2,962, 530,000,000

10 media barons in India Today 2010 power list

26% of India’s most powerful are media barons

An A-list most A-listers don’t want to be a part of

Blogger breaks into Businessweek most powerful list

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The Indian Express power list

2012: N. Ram, Arnab Goswami crash out of power list

2011: Arnab Goswami edges out Barkha Dutt

2010: Arun Shourie more powerful than media pros

2009: 11 habits of highly successful media people

A newspaper ad without SRK, MSD or AB

4 March 2013

lok satta ad

Brand ambassadors for media companies usually tend to be celebrities—a Shah Rukh Khan for Zee, a Mahinder Singh Dhoni for NDTV, an Amitabh Bachchan for The Times of India, etc—or faces of newsmakers.

In other words, usually upper class or upper caste.

Loksatta, the Marathi daily from the Indian Express group, bucks the trend with a print advertisement featuring the Dalit businessman Milind Kamble, with the punchline: “the preferred choice for every discerning Maharashtrian”.

Also read: Anybody here who’s Dalit and speaks English?

12 media barons worth Rs 2,962,530,000,000

6 November 2012

Twelve media barons in Forbes India‘s list of the 100 richest Indians are worth $54.6 billion, in other words Rs 2,962,530,000,000.

There are five pure-play media barons in the Forbes list: Subhash Chandra of Zee (total worth $2.9 billion) at No. 22, Kalanidhi Maran of Sun ($2.8 billion) at No. 24, Indu Jain of The Times of India ($1.9 billion) at No. 31, Shobhana Bharatia of Hindustan Times ($620 million) at No. 93 and Ramesh Agarwal of Dainik Bhaskar ($580 million) at No. 95,

There are seven others with partial media interests: Mukesh Ambani of TV18-ETV ($21 billion) at No. 1, Shashi and Ravi Ruia of TimeOut ($8.1 billion) at No. 8, Kumar Mangalam Birla of Living Media ($7.8 billion) at No. 10, Anil Ambani of Bloomberg ($6 billion) at No. 11, Rajan Raheja of Outlook* ($2.2 billion) at No. 29 and Sanjiv Goenka of Open ($725 million) at No. 80.

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The Forbes special issue features a four-page profile of Satyan Gajwani, the son-in-law of The Times of India‘s bossman Samir Jain and CEO of Times Internet Limited (TIL), the group’s digital arm.

“It was in the last year of Stanford that Satyan’s life took a turn when he met Trishla Jain. “I didn’t know anything about Trishla’s family. We dated through college. We both moved to New York, she was doing other work at NYC.”

# Samir Jain told Gajwani that he really should think about coming to India. “He said a lot of strategic decisions are going to be made in next six months that may have long term impact, so you should be part of them.”

# “Fortunately, Trishla’s dad was very progressive, both in terms of intellect and culturally. He was convinced that we would have married anyways. He said, you are already my son for all practical purposes. So I moved here as her boyfriend and lived with them in Delhi for six months. And then when I was comfortable, we got engaged, and a year-and-a-half later, we got married in 2011.”

# “I have the autonomy to make a big change in our culture and processes. It’s partially because I am the family.”

# That Gajwani has come into Times Internet Limited at the top, as CEO, has had many people saying his success was not earned. That includes his own father. “My dad says you should work your way up a company, slog it out for five years first, so he’s like, you’ve just got put in this position so soon.”

# “In India there is a hierarchical perception: They will agree because I am the boss. That is not what I want, my intention is to stimulate debate.”

# “Digital media is different from other media. Most media companies suck at it.”

# Trishla is now carrying their baby and in a few months, they’ll be parents. “So I have got four more months of being able to work very hard and then life goes normal. He does not want to ‘outsource’ parenting. “I am excited to have kids, but if it’s too much to handle then I can just give them to Samir Uncle.”

* Disclosures apply

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Also read: Forbes can name India’s second richest woman

External reading: How did Satyan Gajwani become CEO at 27?

Are journalism’s best practices in your DNA?

25 January 2012

On the eve of the nation’s 63rd Republic Day, the Bombay newspaper DNA, from the Dainik Bhaskar and Zee groups, devotes its front page to publicising its code of ethics.

Before laying out its key principles—responsibility, freedom, independence, truth and accuracy, impartiality, fair play—the code reads:

“Our Constitution, protecting freedom of expression, guarantees to the people through our press a constitutional right, and places on journalists, like us, a particular responsibility. Journalism demands of its practictioners not only industry knowledge but also the pursuit of a standard of integrity proportionate to the journalist’s singular obligation.”

Link via M.V. J. Kar

Image: courtesy DNA

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Also read: Good morning, your paper is free of paid news

ET: It’s never too late to get yourself a code of ethics

IRS sparks TOI-Mumbai vs DNA-HT battle

Is it all over for DNA in the Mumbai market?

External reading: The Mint code of ethics

Is UPA hitting back at ToI, India Today, DNA?

19 September 2011

There has been plenty of buzz in recent days that the Congress-led UPA government has quietly begun hitting back at the media for the manner in which it has exposed the scams and scandals, and for the proactive manner in which it backed the middle-class led “Arnab Spring”.

There have been rumours, for instance, of the Union information and broadcasting ministry actually proposing a ceiling on the number of minutes a news channel can show a specific news event and so on. Now, as if to show that the messenger is indeed being wilfully targetted, these two stories have emerged in the last two days.

Exhibit A: Nora Chopra‘s item in The Sunday Guardian (above), which talks of the government making things difficult for cross-media groups like The Times of India and India Today.

Exhibit B: DNA editor Aditya Sinha‘s column, in which he links a 10-day stoppage of government advertisements to his “mass-circulating” paper to the paper’s stand in the Anna Hazare episode.

“We advised ad-sales to seek an appointment with I&B minister Ambika Soni. It was a pleasant surprise when the ad-sales executives immediately got a slot to meet the minister.

“Soni was pleasant enough. She told our guys she was unaware of any DAVP action; but in any case the government was rationalizing the flow of ads to English and language newspapers.

“Her body language, according to the ad-sales team, suggested otherwise. And then, during a general chat about the newspaper, she came to the point: she said that DNA ought to look at its coverage over the past few weeks and introspect….

Soni’s statement led us to infer that our Anna Hazare coverage was being punished by a suspension of government ads, and that Soni met our ad executives just to ensure the point was driven home.”

For the record, a point Sinha artfully sidesteps, DNA has been in the government’s crosshairs for an incendiary and imbecilic column written by the Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy after the July 13 bomb blasts in Bombay.

For the record, DNA is part-owned by Subhash Chandra‘s Zee group, some of whose journalists (present and past) played a key role in the media management of Hazare’s fast.

And, also for the record, Ambika Soni traces her Congress origins to Sanjay Gandhi, whose role in ushering in press censorship during the Emergency in 1975, has been long documented.

Image: courtesy The Sunday Guardian

Read the full piece: Ambika Soni‘s arm-twisting

External reading: DAVP wants balance sheets

Also read: How The Times of India pumped up Team Anna

Is the Indian Express now a pro-establishment newspaper?

The ex-Zee News journalist behind Anna Hazare show

Ex-Star News, ToI journos behind ‘Arnab Spring’

Is the media manufacturing middle-class dissent?

Should media corruption come under Lok Pal?

Is it all over for DNA in the battle for Bombay?

26 September 2010

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: The October 8 issue of Forbes magazine, from the CNBC-TV18 group, carries a four-page story that reads more like an advance obituary for DNA, the English broadsheet daily newspaper that was launched by the Dainik Bhaskar and Zee television groups to humble The Times of  India in urbs prima in Indus.

Five years and Rs 1,100 crore later, writes Rohin Dharmakumar evocatively citing the 1961 film Guns of Navarone, DNA’s original ambition lies in tatters, although the “theory” was perfectly feasible.

# DNA’s Bombay readership is down 15% from its 2009 peak, while The Times of India’s is 2.5 larger.

# DNA’s ad rates are one-third ToI’s on paper, but closer to one-seventh due to discounting.

# DNA’s revenue was Rs 148 crore last year, up 22% over the year before, but still Rs 70 crore short of covering its operating costs.

# DNA is now a distant No.3 in Bombay and Bangalore to Hindustan Times and Deccan Chronicle, respectively, and both are reportedly close to dislodging it from that position.

# Only current executive editor R. Jagannathan remains from DNA’s original star cast, many of whom were lured from The Times of India and hired at high salaries.

In hindsight, DNA’s faulty subscription drive, the launch and free distribution of Mumbai Mirror with ToI and the increase of ToI’s cover price to suck the newspaper budget of households so that a second newspaper cannot be bought, are seen to have been the key drivers in ToI fighting off the challenge.

Rahul Kansal, the chief marketing officer of ToI, is quoted as saying:

DNA came in with a lot of overconfidence. Heady with their launches in Gujarat and Rajasthan, they thought The Times of India would be a sitting duck. They started their outdoor campaign four months in advance, giving us adequate time to launch a new paper. I think they displayed their hand way too early, so by the time they launched, we had already soaked up a lot of the reading appetite.”

The southward turn in DNA’s fortunes is reflected in Subhash Chandra of Zee edging out partner Sudhir Agarwal of Dainik Bhaskar for a more hands-on role. Cost-cutting is the mantra of DNA’s CEO K.U. Rao, a former Shell executive in his first media stint.

“Probably the most stark sign of DNA’s transformation comes from Bangalore, where just over a year after it spent Rs 100 crore to put up a state-of-the-art press, it is now using it to print over 200,000 copies of Bangalore Mirror for The Times of India,” writes Rohin Dharmakumar.

The Forbes piece will be available online after October 7.

10 media barons in India Today power list of 50

12 March 2010

Ronnie Screwvala of UTV, and Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy of NDTV, are the three prominent media names missing in India Today magazine’s annual ranking of the 50 most powerful people in India for the year of the lord, 2010.

Otherwise, this year’s list comprise the usual barons: Samir Jain and Vineet Jain of The Times of India group at No.8; Kalanidhi Maran of Sun TV at No. 16 (up eight places from last year); Raghav Bahl of TV18 at No. 17 (down from No. 15); Subhash Chandra of Zee at No. 22; Ramesh Agarwal and Sudhir Agarwal of Dainik Bhaskar and DNA at No. 30 (up five places from last year); Mahendra Mohan Gupta and Sanjay Gupta of Dainik Jagran at No. 33 (up from 39) ; and Rajeev Chandrasekhar of Asianet and Suvarna at No. 37 (up from 46, although India Today strangely claims he is a new entrant).

But the printer’s devil is in the details.

India Today says Vineet Jain is obsessive about the photogallery of Indiatimes, Samir about the layout of ToI‘s editorial page (an obsession that began in 1989); Maran, an amateur radio operator, is the highest-paid executive in India earning Rs 37 crore per annum; Bahl will publish a book on the political economy of India and China this August; Mahendra Mohan Gupta has acquired an Audi Q7; and Rajeev Chandrasekhar wears Canali suits or jackets, Stemar shoes and Jaeger le Coultre watches.

Also read: 26% of India’s most powerful are media barons

The 11 habits of India’s most powerful media pros

A columnist more powerful than all the media barons

A house for Dr & Mrs Roy at Rs 270,000,000

An A-list most A-listers don’t want to be a part of

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