Monday, November 13, 2006

The pink paper wars: With enemies like these, who needs friends?

It’s a little over a year since DNA, Mumbai Mirror and Hindustan Times launched in Mumbai, and media buyers know who has won the battle, notwithstanding NRS and IRS figures.
And when news of Aroon Purie’s morning tabloid hit the headlines, almost simultaneously with the news of DNA Money being spun off as a stand alone, life got interesting.
The Times of India and Hindustan Times announce a JV for a morning tabloid. And life gets more interesting.
And, today, an innocuous SMS from a friend at HT asking me to send a cheque for a subscription to their new pink paper in collaboration with the Wall Street Journal interrupts my early beer.
And life gets even more interesting.
And pigsandwings is a blog, not a MSM product, and I can have a blast.
And I think back to the deal between the owners of Hindustan Times and The Times of India when it was decided that Mumbai Mirror would be printed using the surplus capacity of HT’s spanking new press at Panvel.
And I think back at the announcement of a no-poaching pact between HT and ToI.
And I look again at the JV between HT and ToI for a morning paper in Delhi to counter Living Media’s offering (still unclear whether it’s tabloid or compact).
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Where only HT and ToI exist, in the general newspaper space.
Where only HT and ToI exist, in the Hindi newspaper space.
Where only HT and ToI exist, in the pink paper space.
And it leads me to a pigsandwings question: with enemies like these, who needs friends?


Raj said...

interesting indeed Anant... the thought of friends and rivals rolled in one!

Anonymous said...

Isn't the problem really that there are no antitrust laws--or if they exist they are apparently toothless--when it comes to these kind of media ventures? But reality is TOI/HT compete head-on in Delhi/Mumbai; Hindustan and Navbharat Times compete in various markets; Radio Mirchi (toi venture) will compete with Fever104 (ht media venture) and so will Economic Times and HT/WSJ business paper.

Anant Rangaswami said...

They do indeed compete. But with the "friendly" relationships such as the no-poaching pact or the Delhi tabloid, they will not be able to "hate" each other as Coke and Pepsi do, or as Channel [V] and MTV do, and so on.
That's why it's worth thinking about.

Anonymous said...

Well, such examples have been there in the past...infact a lot stronger (a JV!). ESPN and STAR Sports both entered the Indian market as seperate entities and were just canabalising each other's markets, when over a casual drink on an international flight the head honchos of both the channels decided to live a symbiotic relationship. ESS (ESPN STAR Sports) started as the India offices for the overseas entity but now is the most profit making offices of the JV and is a Pvt. Ltd. company in India.The JV gives them the opportunity to bid bigger monies and offer more programming to their viewers. Competition is healthy and if two competitors join hands they can conquer the world1