Monthly Archives: September 2010

Dishing out news means flouting parking rules

A line of outdoor broadcast (OB) vans occupy one half of the road outside the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday, 28 September 2010, the day the highest court in the land ruled that the judgement in the Ayodhya title suit could be pronounced without any further delay.

Below, the media scrum sticks the mike out in the face of Mukul Rohatgi, the counsel for the petitioner, whose plea for deferment held up the proceedings.

Photographs: Kuppesh S. Kumar

Also read: When the OB vans came rolling in

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Censored, but no copies have been confiscated

Since January 2009, India has “censored” The Economist “newspaper” 31 times, mostly for its depiction of Kashmir in its maps. Usually, newsstand copies are more at risk of attracting the “illegal stamp” against subscription copies.

Image: courtesy The Economist

Link via Boing Boing

Also read: If it catches your eye, surely the ad’s working?

Funny joke from a balding journalist-blogger*

How to get from point B to point A in Chicago

Why Chinese children are learning Hindi

Why newspapers were offloaded from a plane

An item in ‘Delhi Confidential‘, the Monday gossip column of The Indian Express, on the Volkswagen Vento “talking ad” run by The Hindu and The Times of India last week.

Facsimile: courtesy The Indian Express

Also read: ‘Talking ads’ in The Hindu and The Times of India

Three reasons why the ToI-Volkswagen ad won’t work

When an advertisement becomes the news

Fortune India and Forbes India in numbers

Much anticipated and much delayed, Fortune, the business magazine from the Time Inc stable, has finally made its India debut, in collaboration with Aveek Sarkar‘s Ananda Bazaar Patrika (ABP) group, 16 months after the launch of the Indian edition of Forbes in collaboration with Raghav Bahl‘s Network 18 group.

# Forbes India periodicity: fortnightly

Fortune India periodicity: monthly

# Forbes launch cover price: Rs 50 (raised to Rs 100)

Fortune launch cover price: Rs 100

# Forbes inaugural subscription price: Rs 950 (26 issues)

Fortune inaugural subscription price: Rs 800 (12 issues)

# Total pages in Forbes launch issue: 122

Total pages in Fortune launch issue: 192

# No. of names in Forbes launch issue masthead: 43

No. of names in Fortune launch issue masthead: 20

# No. of articles in Forbes launch issue: 30 (+ regulars)

No. of articles in Fortune launch issue: 25 (+ regulars)

# No. of ads in Forbes launch issue: 25

No. of ads in Fortune launch issue: 61

# No. of gatefold ads in Forbes launch issue: 0

No. of gatefold ads in Fortune launch issue: 2

# Forbes India: launched by Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief, Forbes

Fortune India: launched by B. Muthuraman of Tata Steel and Ravi Kant of Tata Motors

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# Forbes launch issue cover story: Lakshmi Mittal

Fortune launch issue cover story: India Inc’s international workforce

# Firang gyan in Forbes launch issue: Steve Forbes

Firang gyan in Fortune launch issue: Andy Serwer, managing editor, Fortune

# India peg in Forbes launch issue: Lakshmi Mittal, Vijay Mallya (UB), Tulsi Tanti (Suzlon)

India peg in Fortune launch issue: Jawaharlal Nehru article from 1942 Forbes, Naresh Trehan (Medanta), Pramit Jhaveri (Citibank India CEO)

# Forbes India shit-I-didn’t-know-that story: Suzlon’s wind energy plans become a nightmare, debts and losses are Mallya’s new companions

Fortune India shit-I-didn’t-kn0w-that story: Bill Gates‘ favourite teacher’s father was born in Bengal, Wal-Mart will soon have $500 billion in sales

# Forbes India Freudian slip: “Indians can’t work, Chinese can’t think”

Fortune India Freudian slip: Will Brazil overtake India?

# Forbes India editorial mission statement: “We will strive to convince you of a point of view with hard evidence, logic and clear reasoning. But at the same time, we will have an attitude, an edge, and strive to be conversaional like someone on a bar stool telling you a story. We’ll also be fun to read. Companies may be a shade dull—but their managers almost never are. That’s why we will tell our stories through people… It’s not just words alone. Our design—images, graphics, and illustrations—will work in tandem with our stories to create a contemporary business magazine.” (Indrajit Gupta, editor)

Fortune India editorial mission statement: “As we bring you the stories that matter from around the world, through meticulous reporage, deftly edited to ensure an effortless read, lavish pictures, and sophisticated design, we’ll always endeavour to make the magazine enjoyable. Indeed, to make you partners in the greatest journalistic assignment in history.” (D.N. Mukerjea, editor)

Ambani book review, a response and a riposte

Its original avatar,The Polyester Prince, failed to see the light of day after injunctions were secured against its release in several cities.

Now, an updated version of Sydney Morning Herald journalist Hamish McDonald‘s book on the Ambanis has surprisingly hit the stands under a new title, Ambani & Sons.

Shantanu Guha-Ray, the business editor of Tehelka, reviewed the new version of the book in the September 18 issue.

The latest issue of the magazine carries a small interlude between author and reviewer.

***

MEMORY LAPSES

Refer to Shantanu Guha Ray’s ‘Two Boys and Their Grand Fight’, 18 September. In the review of my book Mahabharata in Polyester, I was baffled to learn that I had once been a part-time anchor for a show in the now-defunct Business India television channel. Nothing else in Guha Ray’s comments surprised me. He might have mentioned that he had previously volunteered for the role of co-author of this book and had been turned down.

HAMISH MCDONALD, on email

***

SHANTANU GUHA RAY replies: Business India television planned the Business India show for which McDonald was considered a part-anchor. He was brought in by Rita Manchanda. The show, with numerous re-adjustments, was eventually anchored by Saloni Puri. I produced the show. McDonald probably does not remember, it has been over a decade. He ignored me as a co-author. I am still reeling under that impact.

Also read: Why the Indian media doesn’t take on Ambanis

Sorry, brother, we got a few million $$$ wrong

Indian journalism is regularly second-rate

In the dosa joint where our ‘beloved father’ ate

How media hyped up the Reliance Power IPO

Anil sues Mukesh Ambani for New York Times profile

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

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.