‘Buy-sell-save-spend. Live rich. Enjoy.’

The monsoon is still a couple of months away but it’s raining newspapers in southern India.

Last Friday, the new New Indian Express hit the stands. On Monday, The Times of India launched in Madras. And on Wednesday, Financial Chronicle, the business daily from the Deccan Chronicle group, arrived in Hyderabad and Madras.

In photograph is the cover page of the second day’s e-paper (registration required).

Editor Shubhrangshu Roy writes:

“So why are we here? Because the market demands us, in clean and credible white, untainted by agendas, to tell the story of India’s growing prosperity the way it ought to be told. We are here to break free from the clutter and jargon that have become the hallmark of business reporting. We are here to tell you in simple words what business is all about and in the way all of us want to know it. For business, as we understand it, is all about an uncomplicated six-letter word: dhanda or transaction. Which is why our brand of journalism is founded on the bedrock of four simple words—buy-sell-save-spend—imprinted at top left of this page.

“We are here to reflect and build on the aspirations of NewGen India.

“We are here to Live Rich! So, enjoy.”

1 Comment

  1. Varshini

    There are lot of misconceptions about Chennai media market.

    DC is not a success though it has made itself highly visible. Its circulation base is very good, but its advertisement revenue is not even par for the course. Despite what the accounts books show, DC, Chennai is not a winner in money terms, and is being bankrolled by DC, Hyderabad, which is a strong success. DC, Chennai by having a good circulation cannot cut its overheads. This is a classic catch-22 situation.

    Its journalism (with a stable of very mediocre journalists — this paper is notorious for glaring errors both in English and facts) has come in the way of it building a strong and loyal readership base.

    The new New Indian Express, on the other hand, despite Aditya Sinha’s enterprise and ebullience is always going to struggle. Apparently the paper has got some infusion of huge investment some where. That is why it is able to look fresh. But its new look cannot buy it readers, and except for an award-winning brilliant film writer, IE too has no strong writers to attract readers. All its fresh talents have flocked to TOI. Sad but true, IE is looking down the barrel.

    The Hindu is obviously rattled. The price cut alone is not a give-away. After being too snooty and too ivory-towerish, the Mount Road Mahavishnu has now only deigned to feature local (Chennai stories) prominently on page one. The Hindu, with its strong political leanings, and the outright duplicity of its editor (Ram), who tends to preach ethics to others but doesn’t follow them himself, has won the paper a lot of enemies. Rumours have it that Ram and his brothers are now at loggerheads on which way to take the paper. If Ram changes tack, and can inspire some good writers in its roll, The Hindu can still be a handful.

    TOI, no paragon of virtue itself, is bound to benefit immensely in the short-term. In the one week since its launch, it has made all the right noises. Its local coverage has been extensive and, in fact, meritorious too. For instance, today’s story on the others who got killed along with Rajiv Gandhi is a wonderful piece of journalism —- something which Chennai deserved all these years (rather than the dreary voice of the establishment). TOI has begun well. But the road ahead is long, and all depends on how much dent it can make in the advertisement market as it is where the real and the all-important battle is. The Hindu has a good clique in the ad market, and there are many top men in the agencies who tend to be its men. (Chennai Ad Club is headed by N Murali)

    The interesting angle to the ad war may come in the form of neighbourhood papers, which are quite unique to Chennai. The Talk Publications, which have a swathe of local weeklies, and the Adyar-Mylapore-Anna Nagar Times, have an incredible stronghold on mom and pop stores insertions, and also area-specific classifieds, which are the lifeline of most papers elsewhere. To be honest, the neighbourhood weeklies in Chennai make more money from ads than DC and IE. This is the harsh reality.

    So far, The Hindu alone (among English papers), with its strong presence built over several years, had done well in Chennai in classifieds. Otherwise, it is all local neighbourhood weeklies.

    In general reckoning, the fight between TOI and The Hindu will be interesting and will be even-Stevens for some time. DC will not make money, but will preen as if it has. IE will make the noises, but little else. The neighbourhood weeklies may emerge stronger, or maybe washed away if the biggies find a strategy to assert themselves.

    All in all, it is an interesting situation.

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