Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The battle for the pink papers

All eyes and ears have been concentrating on KBC with SRK and on the departures of Peter Mukerjea and Sameer Nair from STAR TV.
Zillions of questions.
Will KBC do well? How will Paul Aiello manage the India mess? Will Zee take advantage and recoup the long lost No 1 slot?
Zillions of answers, too, in all media: print, the Internet, the blogosphere, TV.

And we’ve lost track of the mother of all battles coming up: the pink paper wars. With the launch of the Hindustan Times-backed India edition of the Wall Street Journal imminent, The Economic Times has, as The Times of India did immediately before the launches of Hindustan Times, Mumbai and DNA, quietly embarked on an overhaul of the paper.

More pages, more sections, the layout being nudged up a notch or two: it’s all happening.

And in some ways, it’s a battle that will not be about the money; it’s a battle for control of influence. While The Times of India’s turf had to be protected because it is the cash cow of BCCL, ET’s needs to be protected because of how much it influences the influential.

In true Hindustan Times style, the launch date is a riddle in an enigma in a mystery, but it surely is around the corner.

And what, you ask, of Business Standard, Hindu BusinessLine and Financial Express?

They need to get their acts together, too. Be there. Or be left out. Of media plans and of spheres of influence.

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