South Indian Media: Why is Sankeshwar interested in Media?

Mahesh Kulkarni writes in an article Sankeshwar to ‘disrupt’ Kannada papers, again in Business Standard

Vijay Sankeshwar is addicted to shaking things up. A decade after this businessman and politician from Gadag district in North Karnataka revolutionised the Kannada newspaper industry by launching Vijaya Karnataka, a paper that quickly outstripped the then market leader Praja Vani, he is doing it all over again.

Why is Sankeshwar so interested in the newspaper world? The roots of it probably are in the fact that his family used to run a small publishing press which put out study guides for the state SSLC exams. Then, as evinced from his sale of Vijay Karnataka for Rs 300 crore, there was good money to be made in the business. Also, don’t discount the fact that newspapers are a wonderful platform for budding politicians. Sankeshwar, after all, was once a BJP Member of Parliament from Dharwad North and is now a Legislative Council member in Bangalore.

Sankeshwar’s tremendous advantage lies in his vast logistics network that he can leverage to reach out to every nook and cranny of the state, ensuring that his newspapers are deposited on the doorsteps of his readers early in the morning. Sankeshwar plans to roll out Vijaya Vani across 10 cities in Karnataka over a period of one year. He has already launched six editions across key cities in the state. He has set up his own printing sites in these locations and will take delivery of five new printing press over the next five months.

It may almost seem like Sankeshwar rued his decision to part with the ground-breaking Vijaya Karnataka. As soon as his lock-in period was over, he was back in business, this time purchasing a 57-year-old district-level tabloid, Vijaya Vani, published from Tumkur, and re-launching it as a state-level broadsheet newspaper on April 1, 2012. He met with opposition almost immediately. The Times group raised an objection to the title, Vijaya Vani, saying it clashed with the one the group had bought from Sankeshwar, namely Vijaya Karnataka, and filed a case in the Bangalore city court.

“The name Vijaya is not their family property. Anybody can have the name Vijaya. It only shows their desperation and they are scared of our aggressive launch. I consider it as an unhealthy practice,” said Sankeshwar in response.

Vijaya Vani may not be the force that its predecessor used to be, but considering Sankeshwar’s track record, it may be a good idea to take his words seriously. After all, his name is not just on those papers, it also means ‘victory.’’

Read the full article Sankeshwar to ‘disrupt’ Kannada papers, again in Business Standard

Bengaluru: 872 females to 1k males; Is ‘satyamev jayate’ irrelevant here?

Deepti Rao writes on her blog http://www.binfikr.com: Is Satyamev Jayate Irrelevant to Karnataka?

…Both rural and urban populations of Karnataka must watch such inspiring (Satyameva Jayate‘s) television episodes. Did you know that Bangalore Rural has a glaring sex ratio of 872 females to 1,000 males? Who knows, it could be attributed to the prevalent female feticide practices in rural Bangalore!

…Kannada is the only south-Indian, regional, language that has been left out (telecasting Satyamev Jayate) . Do not blame Satyameva Jayate producers for this mishap – they dubbed the show in Kannada and Suvarna television channel was supposed to air this program starting May 6th! Shockingly, the Karnataka government, especially Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce (KFCC) and Karnataka Television Association (KTA) prevented the Kannada-dubbed show from being aired!

Taking refuge under an old restriction imposed by the KFCC and KTA, way back in 1960, Karnataka state has banned the dubbing of movies and television serials into Kannada for decades now. The reason being that dubbing would suppress local talent and would also reduce the popularity of Kannada language.

Consequently, a majority of the not conversant population of Karnataka state (accounting for about 2 crore people) might have skipped the last episode of Satyameva Jayate because they did not understand Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, or Bengali languages! It is sad, is it not?

Read the full post: Is SJ irrelevant to Karnataka

IPL cheer-girls are teachers, gymnasts & acrobats, not strippers!!!

Angela Carson a Californian, the media spokesperson for the Karnataka Premier League writes in her article The naked truth about the Indian Premier League cheerleaders in her blog: Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore 

The writer (centre) with the RCB White Mischief cheerleaders (from left) Kaylé Koegelenberg, Melissa Burke, Daniella De Silva and Nadine Theron.

These girls are smart, have huge hearts, warm personalities, volunteer their time to charity and can dance your socks off!

No one likes to be falsely labeled or judged. Sadly, I did it before I heard how ridiculous I must have sounded when I heard my buddy make his outlandish claims about women he’s never met. Thank goodness my “fight for the underdog” and “women’s equality” gene kicked in because if not I would have never spent a fun afternoon with Melissa, Nadine, Kaylé and Daniella – who for me were ambassadors for all of the white cheerleaders in India. These girls adore India, respect and are friends with the players and their wives and girlfriends, have a good head on their shoulders and dance their hearts out cheering for our one common goal – an IPL victory! 

….Here in India, although the girls do have official public relations obligations, one thing that touched me the most about them was the activities that they schedule into their own free time, away from the cameras and the limelight. In Kolkata they spent time at Mother Teresa’s Mother House charity where they all felt in awe of the impact she’s had on the world.  They also visited and donated their own time to an orphanage, which they all said left a lasting impression on them and has touched them more than any other experience to date in India.

Melissa Burke (26) team captain. … After high school, Melissa went on to university to study psychology and organisational psychology and next year plans to return to complete her honours and start a career in child psychology because of her passion for helping the young. …She water skis, wake boards and last year took a course in meditation, which she continues to practice here in India .

Nadine Theron (youngest of RCB cheerleaders)…At the age of four she started acrobatics training and is the only member of the RCB cheer team who does acrobatics, including front and back flips, to pump up the crowd at matches. Nadine holds her associate teachers certificate to teaches acrobatics to children. 

Kaylé Koegelenberg is 22, from Windhoek, Namibia…the town where Angelina Jolie and Brad Pritt’s daughter was born…. She’s been dancing since the age of five and has played so many sports – including hockey – that I couldn’t write them all down! 

Daniella De Silva(21) AKA Danimal, is the team joker. She started taking gymnastics classes at five and then modern dance classes at six, which she continued along with hip hop through high school.  ….. she will stay back in India and move to Mumbai after IPL is done. She hopes to make it big in Bollywood one day and work alongside Shahrukh Khan. In Hindi, she’s learned to count up to 23 so far, and is picking up the language quite quickly with a zealous and fun passion for pronunciation!

Back home most of the girls are involved in at least one, if not more, charity organisations. Melissa helps build new schools and improve the infrastructure in townships (slums) and hopes to work with premature babies as a kangaroo therapist.  Kaylé believes in giving her time, not money, and donates her time to underprivileged children’s homes. She’s now going through orientation and background checks in order to spend more time with those kids teaching them to play hockey, although she admits that struggling to generate funds to buy one hockey stick for each kid is a challenge.

Read the full article: The naked truth about the Indian Premier League cheerleaders

(Angela Carson is a Californian who moved to Bangalore in April 2011. Aside from writing for magazines, newspapers and various websites, she heads up the MarCom team for a leading Indian BPO company. She also works in the exciting world of cricket public relations as media spokesperson for the Karnataka Premier League. Angela is also a blogger)

‘Bengaluru’ – formless, even viscous!

Girish Karnad, the winner of the 1998 Bharatiya Jnanpith award,  a playwright, actor, film director, and arts administrator writes in THE DAILY BEAST

It was not so long ago that Bangalore was competing only with Singapore.

It was not so long ago that Bangalore was competing only with Singapore.

…..The current joke is that the only buildings to remain unscathed by the onslaught may be Vidhana Soudha, the building that houses the legislature, and UB City, a complex that is a hideous combination of the Empire State Building and Internet kitsch, built by a liquor baron.

……The emergence in the ’60s of the liquor industry, with its intractable deals and infinitely manipulable accounting, seems an inevitable response to the demands of the new democratic politics. And liquor barons virtually took over the running of the city. They built cinema halls, started newspapers, built schools, opened restaurants, produced films, invested in real estate, and even hosted public parties in honor of politicians. Then in July 1981, tragedy struck. More than 300 died on a single day from drinking illicit liquor, and the aura surrounding alcohol began to pall.

 …..That these firms grew without bowing and scraping to the government has caused no little resentment in the Vidhana Soudha.The new IT prosperity has created a young, energetic, educated, and wealthy working class, transforming Bangalore into a consumer’s paradise of shopping malls and office complexes with glass-fronted exteriors. The insatiable demand for “good English” has renewed the anxiety that Kannada may die out in the city. In 2006 Bangalore was renamed Bengaluru.

……But the main loss has been the sense of a stable, coherent city. The experience of the city has become formless, even viscous. Everyone is trying to get somewhere, and distance has become the only real object of daily concern. Instead of shrinking the city, the flyovers, underpasses, and elevated trains seem continually to expand it, pushing people farther and farther away from each other.

Read the full column: Girish Karnad Reflects on Bangalore, India

Kannada’s “Goobe” notebooks, folders, earrings and crochet products !!!

Goobe's Book Republic, Bengaluru

What prompted this post?.. my friend who doesn’t know a word of Kannada cursing her slow internet connection thus –“ hey this goobe gmail is troubling me so much” :D

This WORD deserved a post completely dedicated to it.. the word is GOOBE, which in Kannada means owl.
In our day to day life we don’t really talk much about owl’s do we? But goobe is quite often used as swear word, to express your displeasure at someone or something . Similar to calling somebody a monkey or a donkey but goobe is easier and much cuter than those words.

One of the Kannada’s  popular slang terms has even made its way to Chennai, where it is used with other Kannada words like bejaar. The usage of the word seems to be increasing with the advent of text messages and Facebook. Several bloggers dedicate entire posts to the word goobe.

In fact, the word is so popular that it even sells as a brand name. Gurpreet Kaur, who has just finished her II PU from Christ Junior College and her best friend, Varsha Ramesh, who graduated from Kumarans, (both in Banglaore)  used the word to poke fun at each other and they grew so fond of it that they decided to name their business enterprise after it. “We just love the word,” says Gurpreet, “And we love owls. “Since October 2011, the girls have been selling Goobe notebooks, folders, earrings and crochet products through the social media network.

Goobe’s Book Republic, Banglaore:  Goobe’s book republic sounds funny if kannadigas read it. For non Kannadigas, it means owl its right there very obvious in the logo. But i really like the name and the style of it.This is a small library with vast collection of books on Churchstreet, MG Road, Bangalore.

It’s interesting to note that while the English language regards the owl as a symbol of wisdom (He is as wise as an owl, we often read in English texts) probably because of its association with Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, its usage in Kannada and Hindi is quite derogatory. In Finnish culture, the owl is regarded as stupid for its dumb stare, while owls in medieval Europe were thought to be evil, stupid helpers of witches.

What’s the good word?

» ‘Goobe in Kannada actually means ‘owl’.
But in Bangalore it means:

» A fool

» A boring person

» An introvert

» An irritating guy

» A useless person

‘Goobe is casually used when:

» A friend makes everyone wait by turning up late at any place outside college

» Someone is not paying attention to what you are saying

» You are angry with someone who has failed to complete the task assigned to him/her

» A friend keeps his phone busy by chatting with his girlfriend/ boyfriend

» You bump into the lecturer you wanted to avoid

» You have to curse the traffic cop who steps forward to stop you.

» You have to curse the lappy (laptop) when it conks

In traditional Kannadiga homes, mothers warn their children against disobedience by telling them, “Goobe barathe!” (The owl will come!) Owls are looked upon as a bad omen because they haunt lonely places and are only seen at night.

Hindu has better business sense than Times !

Two different newspapers, and two contrasting views on how to deal with giving brands unpaid publicity.

This morning, The Times of India carries a story on a survey which has found Bangalore as scoring the lowest among seven cities in motorist behaviour. This is what The Times of Indiareports:

That the motorists in Bangalore don’t seem to care for pedestrians has been a subject of intense debate for long. The debate has been set to rest by a New Delhi-based green group’s report that statistically shows Bangalore’s deficiency in this category.

What is the name of the ‘New Delhi-based green group’? We’ve tried to find out; we’ve googled it and have come up with a blank.

The Times of India’s reticence to name the company stems from their misplaced principle of not giving ‘brands’ free publicity. They go to great lengths to avoid naming brands, even to the extent of not calling IPL teams by their actual names, but referring to them as Team Kolkata, Team Mumbai, etc.

When they take a position as they have, they stand to lose out on popular culture – and brands play an increasingly significant role in popular culture.

So The Hindu saw no conflict between editorial and commerce when they carried the cartoon on the left on its editorial page.

The cartoon rides on a recent (Ramesh and Suresh) commercial for Cadbury 5 Star chocolate, which is currently dominating TV channels.

Readers who have seen the commercial immediately make the connection — and there is no doubt, that Cadbury is a big gainer.

And what is the gain for The Hindu? Visit the Cadbury 5 Star facebook page and you see thatThe Hindu cartoon is reproduced.

“Ramesh and Suresh are being an inspiration for the entire nation. Don’t believe it? See this cartoon that appeared in The Hindu yesterday,” says the update.

How many would have seen the cartoon on the Cadbury 5 Star page? Well, they have over 1,000,000 likes and over 15,000 people talking about the page as this is being written.

The Hindu wins big – because they chose to plug a brand. That’s editorial sense – and business sense. Courtesy: Anant Rangaswami  & Firstpost.com

58-year-old ‘Vijaya Vani’ challenged by the ‘Old Lady Of Bori Bunder !!

BCCL sues VRL Chief Vijay Sankeshwar over use of newspaper title Vijaya

Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd ( BCCL), publishers of India‘s largest selling English newspaper – The Times of India, is moving to stem competition in the Kannada newspaper market which commands advertising revenues of Rs 500 crore.

The media giant has moved court against businessman and former newspaper baron Vijay Sankeshwar, who is attempting to return to the business five years after he sold India’s second-largest Kannada daily to BCCL.

ACHIEVEMENT: Governor Rameshwar Thakur (right) presenting the Sir M. Visvesvaraya Award to Vijay Sankeshwar of VRL Group of Companies at the FKCCI founder’s day celebrations in Bangalore . Union Minister of State for Planning M.V. Rajasekharan is seen.

Sankeshwar on Sunday re-launched a 58-year-old title, Vijaya Vani. He owned Vijaya Karnataka before selling out to BCCL. It is now staging a comeback in to the Kannada newspaper space, after the five-year no-compete clause came to an end in March this year.

His newspaper, Vijaya Vani, has three editions in Bangalore, Mangalore and Hubli. It will be expanded to seven more locations in the next two months with an initial investment of Rs 125 crore.

“The title and the newspaper Vijaya Vani has been in existence since 1954 in Tumkur district of Karnataka as a district tabloid. We acquired the title during July 2011 and re-launched it as a broad-sheet with multi-editions across Karnataka on April 1, 2012. If the Times Group did not have objections to the title for the past so many years, it is surprising that they have objections now all of a sudden. The word Vijaya is a common name and no-one can own it. The case against us cannot sustain. “There are few other newspapers in Karnataka with the titles Praja Vani, Samyukta Karnataka and Udaya Vani which has some overlap with our and the BCCL title, but we co-exist,”

said Sankeshwar.

Vijay Sankeshwar also owns VRL Logistics, which has a topline of Rs 1,000 crore, is India’s largest operator of cargo trucks and among the top fleet owners of passenger buses plying between cities and towns. It is estimated that VRL Logistics owns a fleet of over 2,000 vehicles.

The Kannada newspaper market includes Praja Vani owned by ‘The Printers (Mysore) Ltd’ who also publish English daily Deccan Herald, the second largest English daily in Karnataka. The advertising revenues of the Kannada newspaper market is around Rs 500 crore and all the Kannada dailies put together sell around two million copies daily.