Ravi Dhariwal, the chief executive officer of The Times of India group, on why Indian newspapers still continue to be successful unlike in western markets.
“Coming from an FMCG background, fundamentally the first thing that I look at is, is it good for our consumers? Is it good for our advertisers and customers? The traditional publishing world was very different, it first thought of itself rather than the reader or the advertiser. That mindshift is extremely important.
“We exist because we have a reader; we exist because the guy who pays our bills is our advertiser. Therefore we need to be constantly attuned to them rather than just sitting in our ivory tower and saying, this is what we believe is important and this is what I am going to give to you.
“We [in ToI] are extremely fortunate to have editors who understand this and we have been able to make them understand this. They constantly talk to consumers and they are constantly in the market just to figure out what is really important, what is bubbling, what is good for our readers to know.
“To us the reader is the CEO, I am not the CEO.”
External reading: ‘Our paper isn’t for editors; it’s for readers’
Shri. Dhariwal’s position is paisa wise and rupee foolish. The man seems to be bereft of any principles.
In the clip, Shri. Dhariwal fails to mention democracy… or the watchdog/guard dog role… or a social responsibility of the press… or any need to empower the citizen… or any other value that makes freedom of the press the “mother of all liberties” (Justice Venkataramiah).
Is Shri. Dhariwal selling gutka or soap or what? He sure talks like a self-confident, half-educated salesman.
Times readers surely deserve better. Perhaps Shri. Dhariwal would like to take a break to catch up on his readings, on his contemplation, on his meditation… Perhaps he’d like to be a better professional, a deeper man. (I have such cravings all the time!)
May I humbly suggest a reading list for the powerful yet meek Shri. Dhariwal.
SOME BOOKS ON THE HISTORY AND VALUES OF INDIA’S PRESS:
Hirschmann, Edwin. Robert Knight: Reforming Editor in Victorian India. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2008.
Krishnamurti, Nadig. Indian journalism: Origin, growth and development of Indian journalism from Asoka to Nehru/Foreword by Frank Moraes. Mysore: University of Mysore Press, 1966.
Natarajan, J. History of Indian journalism: Part II of the report of the Press Commission. New Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry Of Information And Broadcasting, 1955.
Rajagopal, Arvind. The Indian Public Sphere: Readings in Media History (Oxford in India Readings: Themes in Indian Politics). New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.
AND GENERALLY, THIS CLASSIC BY A MASTER:
Ranganathananda, S. Human Being in Depth: A Scientific Approach to Religion. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991.
Here’s a thought …
Given that journalism & news is finally being sold as a consumer commodity… is it OK for us readers to take the Times to a consumer court for a shoddy product or being cheated by the label of goods?
I bought the paper based on the promise of truth and all i got was a column full false promo’s & tripe …
Any lawyers considering class action?
[…] common denominator. Here’s what Ravi Dhariwal, CEO of Bennett & Coleman which owns TOI, said recently: Coming from an FMCG background, fundamentally the first thing that I look at is, is it good for […]
Ferdinand Lassalle,German politician,once said :
From that moment on, the newspaper became a highly
lucrative investment for those with a talent for making money or for publishers wanting to gain a fortune.