Friday, January 18, 2008

Bearding the lion in its den

It is finally here!! Times of India's (ToI) long awaited Chennai launch is finally happening in April. The Times group is tight lipped about the date, but the launch is likely to be from April 14, the Tamil New year day.

ToI certainly isn't a great paper, but the move is significant in more ways than one. First, it will further erode Chindu's readership as DC did (to some extent) soon after it launched its Chennai edition. Second, with its predatory pricing, ToI might cripple Chindu financially. ToI is pricing its paper at less than a rupee a day.(Rs 170 for a 6-month subscription + a gift and Rs 299 for a year's subscription + gift. Chindu sells at Rs 3.25 on weekdays and at an exhorbitant Rs 4.5 on Sundays) Remember Chindu was forced to sell its crap for less when ToI entered Hyderabad. It is also likely to attract a lot more advertisers than did Chindu. Third, one can reasonably expect to hear an alternate voice on Tamil Nadu affairs. ToI is known to be anti-establishment and unlike Chindu is not expected to be a DMK palanquin bearer.

Most importantly, it might herald the beginning of the end of Chindu's Chennai hegemony. Chindu is never a dominant player in places where the ToI has presence. Having established a stranglehold in its pocket boroughs in the south, Chindu was happy not to take on the ToIs and the HTs. But, ToI has brought the fight straight into Chindu's den. You can expect some cosmetic makeovers, a drop in rates and a desperate attempt to look 'cool'. News on Vidya Ram's "achievements" at Columbia may have to pave way for important international news like Diana being pregnant when she died!

Given that it has already launched ,although non-commercially, its tabloid "Ergo" ,Chindu will not have problems with content. But how will its readers respond? If Chindu tries to ride two horses at the same time, there is a good chance that it might fall down crashing. On the other hand, if it chooses to remain dogmatic, the prospect of a severe erosion in readership and influence looms large.

It remains to be seen as to how chindu would respond to this aggressive move by ToI. Chindu's genuine well wishers would exhort it to return to balanced and fair journalism - something that the paper once did , but maliciously claims it is doing even today!


Anonymous said...

Same title, different story

Inspired India end Australia's streak

Anonymous said...

Yes,apparently andromeda is some founder subcriber of T(abloid)oI chennai coz it cost less

renu said...

How is Newstoday the eveninger doing? I have taken to reading it online for the last several years now. It has fine edits by its learned editor TR Jawahar, and it has excellent local reporting. I wonder why it doesn't draw the crowd away from the CBCNN rag. And how about subscribing to The Pioneer?

Anonymous said...

Newstoday...actually a good honorable paper.
Jawahar is really good;i soemtimes feel he is in the mold of MJ Akbar,sensible guy.
My area gets their localised Adyar Talk,which is pretty decent.
Jawahar does an edit there.
But a 'Balakumar'(?) also tries to put up some lighter side edit and this sucks-Balakumar....or Blahkumar...plz note.
And hey,news today is here too

Anonymous said...

blahkumar is here

and we are supposed to laugh.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why Pioneer is not able to upgrade its website to have static links. There is good demand for the paper, but it is not willing to learn quickly.