Tag Archives: Ravi Dhariwal

When salary isn’t commensurate with circulation

The latest issue of Caravan magazine has more than just the story of former Indian Express editor-in-chief, Shekhar Gupta.

There is a fine profile of Eenadu bossman Ramoji Rao, and there are interesting numbers in a data analysis of the big newspapers by howindialives.com.

One of the charts (above) in the latter story is how the country’s biggest, most profitable media house—Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd—pays its staff.

The numbers show how, of the 81 employees whose 2014 salaries were disclosed to the ministry of corporate affairs by BCCL, only nine of them were of editorial staffers, all the rest being on the business side of the group.

“Even without including the salaries of the group’s proprietors, the Jain family—Samir Jain and Vineet Jain, their mother Indu Jain, Samir’s daughter Trishla Jain and her husband Satyan Gajwani—business salaries still constituted 89.5 per cent of this part of the payroll.”

Through the Shekhar Gupta profile, we learn that The Times of India‘s editorial director JaideepJojoBose earns under Rs 2 crore a year and the paper’s outgoing CEO Ravi Dhariwal earns about Rs 6 crore.

Shekhar Gupta as the CEO and editor-in-chief of The Indian Express earned more than JoJo and Dhariwal put together: over Rs 9 crore per annum.

Asked by Krishn Kaushik, the author of the Caravan profile, Shekhar Gupta says:

“Maybe you have to blame my employers for being too generous. [I decide the salaries of my subordinates] but someone else decides my salary. I work on that basis. And whoever decides has to make a calculation on what he’s getting, and if he’s being overly generous then it’s a question for him, not me. My job is to earn money, work as hard as I can and pay taxes.”

For the record, The Indian Express claimed a 2013 circulation of 400,000 copies before the Registrar of Newspapers in India (RNI) and TOI declared over 4,700,000 copies.

Also read: 18 factoids from Caravan profile of Shekhar Gupta

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ʎlısɐǝ sıɥʇ pɐǝɹ plnoɔ noʎ ɟı ‘suoıʇɐlnʇɐɹƃuoɔ*

Since its sesquicentennial 25 years ago, under bossman Samir Jain’s helmsmanship, The Times of India has pioneered several editorial and marketing “initiatives”, all of which are scorned at first by the competition and then quietly copied.

On the eve of its dodransbicentennial, after brother Vineet Jain told The New Yorker last year that he was in the advertising business not news business, ToI has run this ad printed the right side up and uʍop ǝpısdn pǝʇuıɹd sʍǝu ǝɥʇ.

So, whose interests come first for the newspaper, the advertiser’s or the reader’s, is not difficult to guess.

ToI CEO Ravi Dhariwal told the South Asia Media Summit in Islamabad recently that the paper’s readers actually welcomed such innovations and looked forward to it: “The reader wants change.”

¿uʍop ǝpısdn pǝʇuıɹd ǝɹɐ sɹǝdɐdsʍǝu ǝloɥʍ ǝɹoɟǝq ɹǝƃuol ɥɔnɯ ʍoɥ

* How to type upside down

Also read: Selling the soul or sustaining the business?

Selling the soul or sustaining the business?—II?

Will Britannia pay TOI for such ‘bad news’ in ads?

The masthead is no longer as sacred as it used to be

‘Talking ads’ in The Hindu and The Times of India

Only the weather section is not sold these days

The Ambani brothers, TOI, Medianet & paid news

The “reverse-swing” done on Zee News by Jindal Steel is one of the most intriguing media stories in recent memory.

The steel company says it is suing the Subhash Chandra-owned network for Rs 200 crore for the demand of Rs 100 crore in lieu of advertisements allegedly made by its editors, Sudhir Chaudhary and Sameer Ahluwalia, to not telecast shows in relation to the coal allocation scandal.

In turn, Zee says it will sue Jindal Steel for Rs 150 crore for defaming the network by holding a press conference, releasing a CD containing video evidence of the reverse-sting, and making allegations of extortion against it and its editorial staff.

Meanwhile, The Times of India group, whose business paper The Economic Times and its advertorial supplements like Bombay Times and Delhi Times, were happily mentioned in passing by Chaudhary and Ahluwalia as indulging in “paid news” in the Jindal “reverse-sting” says Zee will hear from them.

Not surprisingly, Times CEO Ravi Dhariwal was on the mat at a CII event on Monday, with Amit Khanna of Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Entertainment saying his company had been asked to approach Medianet by TOI for coverage of an film festival.

The last bit of news, published in the gossip column of the Indian Express on Tuesday, has been happily reproduced by First Post, whose parent organisation TV 18 is now part of the Mukesh Ambani group, as evidence of the “media-corporate war”.

Image: courtesy The Indian Express

Samir Jain, Vineet Jain & TOI in The New Yorker

The October 8 issue of The New Yorker carries a nine-page article on The Times of India by its renowned media critic Ken Auletta in the clearest indication yet that the Times group is bracing for an IPO.

Titled “Citizens Jain”, after the brothers Samir Jain and Vineet Jain, the piece examines why India’s newspaper industry is thriving. (Orson WellesCitizen Kane was a salute to the megalomania of William Randolph Hearst)

A nine-word caption at the bottom of the first page of the article provides the answer: “Their success is a product of an unorthodox philosophy.”

***

Auletta who spent several days in Bombay and Delhi in July reporting the story*, writes that Vineet’s older brother Samir reached out to him two years ago in New York.

“He told me about the unusual ad-sales strategies he had implemented and of his newspapers’ vibrant growth. If I visited India, I asked, would he talk with me about his business?

“He said he would.

“He didn’t. Although Vineet and Times executives generously cooperated, Samir declined to meet.

”The reason he probably doesn’t give interviews is because he doesn’t want the fame,’ Vineet told me. ‘It doesn’t drive him. He doesn’t want to be covered in newspapers and talked about. He’d rather be humble’.”

***

The New Yorker piece is peppered with anecdotes on Samir Jain narrated by media professionals and Times staffers.

# Namita Gokhale recounts sitting next to Samir Jain at a dinner. Jain tells Gokhale, ‘I think history doesn’t exist and if I were Prime Minister I would ban the study of history.’ When Gokhale responds that she would give him two tight slaps and a kick and if he didn’t remember, she would agree there was no history, Samir slips away and ignores her the rest of the evening.

# Shekhar Gupta, the editor-in-chief of the Indian Express, says that whenever he meets Samir Jain, he usually hands him underlined copies of Hindu scriptures and “affectionately” admonishes him that his publication is too dark.

# The inspiration for Samir Jain’s innovative pricing strategies was the zoo in Calcutta, his hometown. As he walked by on a Monday, normally a slow day after a busy weekened, he was surprised to see a long line. To boost attendance, the zoo had lowered its admission price for the day, he learned, which gave him an idea: one day a week, on Wednesdays, he would halve the price of the paper.

# Times CEO Ravi Dhariwal says the first filter Samir Jain uses in any decision is, ‘Will this be spiritually OK? Will I be able to go to my guru? He discusses a lot with his guru. And if his guru doesn’t bless it, I think he just drops it.’

***

In contrast, the more outgoing Vineet is all first-person.

# “Both of us think out of the box,” Vineet Jain told me on a recent afternoon. “We don’t go by the traditional way of doing business. We’re not in the newspaper business, we are in the advertising business…. If I say I am in the news business, then you’ll not do shampoo. If I say I’m in the news business, then you won’t do entertainment supplements. If you are editorial minded, you will make all the wrong decisions.”

# Although the brothers insist they do not determine content, Vineed tells Auletta, ‘I am the content architect.’ Vineett takes credit for the idea of running small, boxed editorials, under the rubric Times View, alongside some front-page stories, as a way of proposing a solution, he said, and because ‘the editorial page is only read by five per cent of readers.”

# When President Barack Obama visited India, Vineet declined an invitation for a state dinner. “What’ll I do?” he said to me. “It’s just meeting somebody, shaking hands. What’s the point?” Besides, he added, “the closer I get to politicians, the more they’ll interfere.”

# “I think of one hundred small ideas, he (Samir) thinks of three big ideas,” Vineet said. Sometimes Samir imparts fatherly advice: ‘He would say, ‘Relax. Work less. Have a good balance. What are you chasing money for?” But Vineet said, “for me, it’s not work. I love creating something. It’s so much fun—I hardly take holidays. For me, this is a holiday.”

The New Yorker profile provides sufficient indication that the Times group is poised for its long-promised Initial Public Offering, probably on NASDAQ, and Vineet Jain goes on record.

“In the long run, we might go public and use the funds to acquire TV stations,” Vineet said. “We don’t need money to grow publishing, but we do to grow television and Internet.”

* Disclosures apply

Also read: When Samir Jain served a thali

Jug Suraiya on Samir Jain among others

What Raghav Bahl could learn from Samir Jain

Now, The Times of India takes on Financial Times

First, Financial Times took out an advertisement, in the name of its CEO John Ridding, in response to an ad appearing in The Times of India  promoting the desi “Financial Times” published by Times Publishing House.

Now, the Times group has returned the favour with an an ad, not in the name of its CEO but of its company secretary Amita Gola, in response to Ridding’s missive.

Also read: Financial Times takes on The Times of India

Thrice bitten, will FT find real love after 20 years?

Samir Jain’s son-in-law rises on TOI horizon

Six days after the internet chief of the Times group, Rishi Khiani, quit to start his own venture, the new CEO Satyan Gajwani—son-in-law of Times bossman Samir Jain—has made his appearance in the newspaper.

A business page story in the paper today announces that the Times’ online music platform will be available on Microsoft’s Surface.

Says Satyan Gajwani, CEO of Times Internet Ltd, “We want gaana.com to be as accessible to users as possible. The Windows8 Surface tablet is an exciting innovation, and a fantastic new way for users to experience music on demand. The Gaana app is now available in the Surface store for users globally to listen, compile, and share the music they love.”

Miami-born Gajwani is married to Samir Jain’s painter-daughter Trishla Jain. The two met while they were at Stanford.

Gajwani did a spell as executive assistant to Times group CEO Ravi Dhariwal before moving to the internet operations of the group.

Photograph: courtesy Tech Circle

Read the full story: Gaana on Surface

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Also read: Power of the press belongs to those who own one!

The name is Gajwani. Satyan Suresh Gajwani

An ad? An edit? Advertorial? Edvertisement?

The front page of The Sunday Times of India on January 15, with the anchor story at the bottom headlined”Get 110% out of your body with Functional Manual Therapy”.

Credited to “TNN” (Times News Network) and printed in the same body font as the rest of the paper, the article touts an “effective evaluation and treatment system that promotes optimum human performance by enhancing body mobility.”

It also mentinos where the therapy is available. At VARDAN, a wellness center in New Delhi, which is “an initiative of The Times Group in collaboration with The Institute of Physical Art (IPA), USA.”

An identical front-page article in The Economic Times on Monday, has led to a Wall Street Journal article. The article quotes Times CEO Ravi Dhariwal as saying that the VARDAN articl…

“is a news report, not an advt/advertorial. No money has been charged for it. We do cover our in-house activities/events/launches in a similar manner.”

Image: courtesy The Sunday Times of India

Read the full article: Is this a news story or an ad?