Happy 175th, The Times of India

08 Nov,2013

 

By Pradyuman Maheshwari

 

I am often accused of being obsessed about The Times of India. That the previous, blog-only avatars of Mediaah!  (2001-03, 2004-05) would only dwell on the affairs of Bennett, Coleman & Company.

 

 

Times @ 175

 

CVL Srinivas | What makes TOI a formidable brand

 

Sangita P Menon Malhan | Rediscovering… The Times of India

 

Sidharth Bhatia | Times have changed, so has the Times

 

Ranjona Banerji | Times@175: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

 

Shailesh Kapoor | BCCL 2.0: The Integrated Media Organization

 

That’s not right. The Times of India only threatened to take me to court, yet another (leading, if I may add) daily actually did that. The matter was settled later via respective lawyers, and hence I wouldn’t like to name the media group.

 

There were many other news media entities I’ve written not-so-nice things about. And continue to do so. And even if I don’t write them myself, some of our columnists do that on MxMIndia. There is no malice whatsoever. We may nail Channel X one day and gush about it on another.

 

There are people who ask me why I single out BCCL for paid content, when scores of others  do the same. Yes, I agree, and I don’t do that any longer since TOI isn’t the only national daily doing charging for content in the open. In fact it pains me to see Hindustan Times and Mid-Day, two newspapers which wrote a fair bit about BCCL’s regressive act and I admire much, also succumbing to the lures of paid content. Both papers carry disclaimers as do Times of India’s supplements, but that’s not good enough.

 

It’s got to have the conviction of this other newspaper’s publisher who has issued a diktat to his editors to not mask names of  hotels , restaurants and brands… not over his dead body!

 

However, even though I hate the group for Medianet, I admire The Times of India a great deal. Since 2005, the year when Hindustan Times and DNA entered Mumbai, TOI has leapfrogged in editorial quality. No other news organisation spends as much energy, effort and dosh on its media products.

 

My big peeve with BCCL is that it has squandered the opportunity with the web avatar of the newspaper. Sadly most newspaper managements don’t have their web act together.

 

So is The Times of India our country’s #1 Newspaper? Yes, it is better than the others. It’s a better-produced, better-marketed, better-distributed and better-sold paper. However, in many ways, it stands for many of the ills that afflict our news media. Paid content, diminishing value to human capital and a desire to achieve revenues at any cost.

 

I understand many top executives of The Times of India agree that Medianet should be dispensed with even though it earns the company revenues of Rs 100-150 crore. But they are too scared to tell the bosses that.

 

Heck, this is celebration time. The MxMIndia special package is not to damn the Times, but to celebrate the birthday of the country’s biggest media brand.

 

Here’s to The Times of India at 175. Happy 175th.  (Hey guys, just axe Medianet, will you? 🙂 )

 

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One response to “Happy 175th, The Times of India”

  1. Kaushik says:

    Leading US newspapers have introduced the media net equivalent. Why should newspapers be some holy grail? Reporters anyway don’t report news but their own biases!

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