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Waiting for Times of India's Chennai launch

 TOI

Newspaper launches are never easy, especially in markets such as Chennai where you have a fully entrenched leader, who, for all practical purposes, has not faced any meaningful competition in a while now, and one who controls the trade with its so significant ability to influence everything connected with it. Nevertheless, having fed on Dainik Bhaskar's now legendary launch in Jaipur to challenge Rajasthan Patrika while at IMT, I am certainly keen to watch this round.

We stopped taking a daily newspaper at our house few months back. Plain and simple, web appeared a good alternative option. And personally speaking, the left leaning thoughts of the Hindu did not resonate with me. Last six months have been without a newspaper for me.

Cut to 1988. I was in Delhi and a school student, and Times of India was the morning breakfast with R.K. Laxman's cartoon being the opening bite. It was lobbed with clinical precision into the balcony of our 4th floor apartment by the delivery boy who would barely slow down his cycle. The Times was celebrating its 150th birthday (or sesquicentennial, if you please) and they had a counter at a fair in Pragati Maidan. I do remember getting a few giveaways from there, one of which was a black colour table calendar,something I really treasured. I remember following Jug Suraiya's column and wondering what he drinks before he starts writing his oh-so-hard hitting satires. And I continue to wonder so!

Cut forward to 2008. I am looking forward to April to resume my newspaper subscription, this time it is the Times of India. My only worry is that when I travel to Delhi and see today's version of the newspaper with photos of half naked ladies, I certainly feel this is not the same newspaper that one respected so much two decades back. I hope their Chennai edition is not a replica of Delhi but has an identity of their own. I also hope it is not so pathetic as their Patna edition.

The only certain good news perhaps is that buying newspaper would become cheaper for sure. The TOI has already initiated a price war by offering launch offers that make receiving the Times of India almost free.

Comments

theone said…
Me too waiting for the Chennai launch of the Times of India. Really hated the TOI, when in Mumbai, especially when the news articles were coloured with opinions. The Hindu, for all its reputation, is definitely not worth at Rs 3. The look, the content, the quality of the paper used...the newspaper looks very dull. ? Had stopped taking the Hindu some time back. The Hindu made me love the TOI again. The diversity of content, the wide range of topics covered in TOI, I really miss that.
Hope TOI chennai edition does not disappoint
s said…
The Hindu is much better than other newspapers and has a balanced approach,ethical journalism, never hypes any news and gives equal importance to all fields unlike TOI crass content, cinema and fashion news and least regard for privacy of others, important news and biased reporting if it does not like any person.The paper quality of THE HINDU is among the best in Asia and the language is appreciated by Gracia - the renowned Media person as well as top dailies such as Guardian.
Unknown said…
I agree TOI gives importance to glamor, peeps into privacies of celeberities, gives an impression that non-issues are major issues etc. but The Hindu has failed to create public opinion, awareness etc. among its readers. TOI should be welcome change to Chennai from that perspective. TOI has also been successful in making politicians media-savvy. This is very much needed in TN politics. On the whole monatony of The Hindu can be broken only by big players like TOI, hence I very much welcome TOI to Chennai. BTW, I have been a adult resident of Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore for one decade each and I am giving these comments based on my experience with both the newspapers.
Anonymous said…
Because of my friends from North I am very eager to subscribe to The Times of India CHENNAI edition. But inspite of my several reminders nobody turnup to collect the subscription. I do not know why?
S.Chandrasekaran, Neelangkarai, Chennai.
Anonymous said…
Ive also been at the receiving end with no response till date for the umpteen SMSs sent to 58888 which was the number given for the same.

Hope they provide some variety to a society dominated for so long by the Hindu. Look forward to some healthy competent brand of journalism


Nanda Kishore

Chennai
Anonymous said…
I too did not get response from them after sending sms and calling their subscription desk, I called today again about subscription and was told that the scheme was closed now. :-(

Narendar Kumar

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हिन्दी लेखन

हिन्दी लिखना एक टेढी खीर से कम नहीं, ऐसी आम धारणा है। किन्तु क्या आपने प्रयास भी किया क्या? मैंने हाल में गूगल पर ढूंढा तो पाया कि कुछ अच्छे साइट हैं जहाँ आपकी मदद की सहज व्यवस्था है। रमण कौल की साइट सराहनीय है।यदि हिन्दी लिखना चाहते हों, तो यहाँ जाँए।

TOI Chennai Launch - How would the Hindu react?

Of course this post is speculative in nature but then isn't that the case with lot of things :)

The question is, how will market leader the Hindu react to the Times of India's proposed launch in Chennai:

Do nothing, no one can shake me - 0% probability.
Do nothing on the surface, work on the distribution control - 10 % probability.Start outdoors before the TOI does, buy hoarding spaces - moderate probability.Go for a drastic price cut and start a price war - almost certain to happen ( Do remember price positioning is not good but then you just lost the chance)Make the paper better - which means not saying a leading star hotel in Nungambakkam but saying Taj Coromandal instead- 10 % probability.Start publishing more color photos- 50 % probability.
In all we would be keen to watch whether the Hindu would adopt a defensive strategy and try to save the turf or a very aggressive strategy and try to kill the new edition of the TOI. And how about no strategy as a strategy?

FINALLY, WHO WON GOOGLE WORDMASTERS CONTEST?

Google organized Wordmasters Challenge in several cities in India recently (30th September,2006). Word is that close to 3000 people participated in this event.
(See Harshad's report on the event here) The winners are supposed to be declared today.Wonder who won it and what did the winning entries look like. Does anyone have a clue on this?

Updated:Nov 9 , 2006:I just decided to send a self-addressed-stamped envelope to Google. If and when I get a response, I will update this post.

Updated:Nov 16 , 2006: One week and no response received. Yes, a self-addressed stamped envelope with a covering note was indeed sent to Google's Bangalore office on the address specified in the event leaflet. Snailmailed on 9th Nov. So much for the mission to organise the world's information and make it accessible to everyone :)

Updated: Nov 29, 2006: I did send a second letter to Google, this time by courier, assuming the previous postal mail failed to reach them. The contents of my letter to Googl…