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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

Hyderabad’s 1st afternoon daily introduces E-paper from Sunday

http://static.issuu.com/webembed/viewers/style1/v2/IssuuReader.swf

Scribble Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd (Scribble Media)’s postnoon, first compact afternoon newspaper of Hyderabad, which is the first-of-its-kind afternoon English daily in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad introduced its e-paper from Sunday May 27, 2012.

With 32 colour pages of hyper-local, national and international, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, health, fashion and business news;postnoon offers a succinct mix of national, international news interspersed with local information. The compact daily is designed to appeal to teens / college students, corporate executives, homemakers, business and retired persons. The articles are concise and precise so that the reader can take in all the key facts quickly, and news is chosen for its relevance to the lives of its target audience and for its ability to stimulate the readers.

Paid News Business In India: Murdoch & Co.may be praying to be born in India in “agle janam”!

In the “paid news” affair some of Indian media’s market leaders have been named as the major violators, but remain largely unscathed. Should this episode in British media history say something to us in India, asks PADMAJA SHAW. She writes in her column Issue In Media in a pioneer media watch-dog website The Hoot :

……The pattern is pretty much the same with other major issues concerning the conduct of other media houses. No one is willing to cast any “stones” apparently because all perceive themselves to be living in glasshouses. When a media baron is on the verge of being arrested, a lightening phone call would go to all the media houses and the story is killed and the arrest managed. When a CBI charge sheet is filed on a media house, it is buried deep under the spike, even as CBI charge sheets against all and sundry are dissected and individuals are tried and convicted in ten-minute studio discussions.

Well then, are we unhappy that our media houses are grubbing money and not primarily chasing power instead? Is spending better than earning? Since there is no real answer to this ethical dilemma in India, one would like to exit with a fond possibility: Murdoch and his offspring may be praying that they be born in India in their “agle janam”!
……In India, in the “paid news” affair, again it was the market leaders who have been named as the major violators. The news organisations also could put pressure on the Press Council of India (PCI) to prevent publication of the Thakurtha-Reddy report and to keep their names out of public knowledge.

What was the crime? Some major newspapers and journalists were either offering package deals for coverage or taking individual payments to ensure favourable coverage during elections. The PCI-sponsored report on paid news estimates that the unrecorded money earned this way could run into several hundred crores. The newspaper giants involved were earning big illegal bucks for providing favourable coverage. Neither the tax departments nor any other investigative body in India has been asked to look into this affair where there was a secular openness and willingness to accept payments from anyone who is willing and to promote the payers’ cause for the money taken. It is the same newspapers that lose no opportunity to hold forth editorially on democracy and criminalisation of politics.
Read the full column in The Hoot : But who will bell our big guys?

Newspaper Ad Spend In USA & What India Can Learn

There’s a lot that the newspaper industry in India can learn from what’s happening in US

The newspaper industry globally is in deeper mess. According to recent data released by the Newspaper Association of America, total newspaper ad spent fell another 7.3 percent in 2011 to reach $23.9 billion, getting to a low that was last seen in 1984. This data was seen despite the overall growth in media ad spent by 0.8 percent last year.

Yet what has proven to be the biggest disappointment is that the rate of decrease of spending in the last year was faster as compared to 2010 and stood at 6.3 percent. And it is the print edition of newspapers that are suffering the most. Print ad revenues reduced a whooping 9.2% last year. Even classified ad spent fell by 11 percent.

However there was a bit of good news in the horizon as well. Online advertising on newspaper brands was up 6.8 percent reaching a total of $3.2 billion.

Experts have been talking about this decline in newspaper ad spent for years. What they were desperately hoping was that the rate of increase of online revenue would match this rate of decline. However that has not happened, leaving newspapers more worried than ever about their future.

This lack of ad spent in newspapers has been observed in most of the developed world. India, compared to these figures of the US or the rest of the developed world, provides a very different picture. In India, the print industry grew by 8.4 percent from 2010 to 2011 i.e. from Rs. 193 billion it grew to Rs. 209 billion (all figures from the FICCIKPMG India Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2012).

Even advertising revenue grew 8.7 percent while circulation revenue grew 3.7 percent. Thus unlike many global markets, India continues to show a growth in the newspaper industry every year. With literacy levels going up and more people being added to the target audience of newspapers, this healthy growth is expected to continue another five to ten years.

courtesy: http://www.mediavataar.com

The Indian newspaper industry it seems has nothing to worry about. That is surprisingly not the case.

In many other things, like information technology, India has had the opportunity to leap frog to the advanced technology rather than struggle with creating it. A similar opportunity is staring at the face of the newspaper industry.

Globally, since the last half a decade, newspapers have struggled to retain their foothold in the changing times. With most people shifting to reading their news on newer devices like tablets and even smart phones, this decline will be further intensified. This has forced the industry to adapt to the changing times. Many have made mistakes but some clear patterns of what the industry should do to survive is emerging.

Thus the smart Indian newspaper would be the one who would not wait for the situation to get dire. Instead looking at where newspapers are going globally, they will be ready when their time comes. They’ll have invested in the infrastructure required to be ready for the future. Indian print industry is thus in the midst of exciting times, where they can learn from the mistakes of their global counterparts and avoid getting into the mess they have gotten into.

Indeed in the next couple of years, this will no longer remain a choice, but will become a kind of necessity and the one who will adapt the quicker, will not only survive, but thrive.

Indian buys two US newspaper!

Krishna P. Singh, co-founder, president and CEO of Marlton, N.J.-based technology company Holtec International, is part of a business consortium paying about $55 million to acquire major two daily newspapers — the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News — and Web site philly.com.

Singh has M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. The Indian American entrepreneur donated $20 million to the university to establish a Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, which broke ground in February 2011.
Holtec’s customers include more than 150 U.S. power generation stations and over 80 commercial nuclear power plants.

Being a reporter is the most amazing job in the world

In an article for the New York TimesDavid Carr makes an attempt to defend journalism.  His article is titled, “Fill in the Blank:  Being a Reporter Is the _____Job in the World.”

Carr basically sums up the past couple of weeks in the world of journalism, and how there seems to be a lot of talk of dissatisfaction with the job.  In his article he quotes a fellow writer Malcolm Gladwellfrom a speech he gave at Yale, “Newspapersare kind of dreary, depressed places. I would go the penniless Web route to get practice.”

Carr mentions the Fox Mole indirectly, and we all know how dissatisfied he was with his job.  He also mentions a young journalistwho was hired and decided to write-up a press release about his new position and posted it to Tumblr, he was fired within twenty-four hours of being hired.

And then of course, Carr mentioned this, “CareerCast included hundreds of jobs in its annual ranking and decided that being a newspaper reporter was the fifth-worst job in the land. Being a dishwasher and a taxi driver rated as better occupations.”

Okay.  So it wasn’t a great month in the land of journalism, and I agree, albeit with very little experience, that newsrooms and newspapers are not what they used to be.

But.  There is still glory to be found in this old institution.  There are still aspiring young journalists like myself that are figuring out what our niche’s are.  There is a whole generation of journalists up and coming that want to restore the industry to the standards we are taught, and all, I promise is not lost.

Who does CareerCast think they are anyway?  The future of journalism is a bright one.  Thanks to Carr, journalists from all walks of life have commented on the state of the job, and in reading many of the responses to his article, I am convinced that CareerCast is completely off base.

To answer his question:  Being a reporter is the most amazing job in the world.

(courtesy: WATCHING THE WATCHDOG & kendra75)