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Monday, May 11, 2020

TOI leads Hindu by a big margin in Chennai city !!

Most of you would be able to identify this logo !

The newspaper referred as ‘Mount Road Maha Vishnu’ was so authentic that people used to say that even if an accident occurs in front of their office – they would not post without verification.  In my younger days, I was so fascinated by the language and style – and would always start the paper from the penultimate page, reading Sports (to us Sports is always Cricket) – the Saturday Sports Special was much liked page.  On the day of Pongal Test against visiting Clive Lloyd, the Hindu had a series pic of Madanlal bowling action, the paper cutting of which was a prized possession of mine for decades.

To most South Indians, day starts early with a steaming hot filter coffee and newspaper – Indian Express was  there; the Mail; in recent times came Deccan Chronicle, Times of India – but the one that appealed most was ‘The Hindu’ – and as it became more and more anti-Hindu always ridiculing Hindutva and culture, slowly even the die-hard chose to stay away.   Many of us become restless when there is no paper for a day due to holiday like Deepavali ! – and I do not pick up a copy of The Hindu even when available free in a Hotel or at the airport for the way they report the instances now and the pronounced bias against the majority community.

Recall that there was an eveninger too – ‘the Mail’ having its Office adjacent to the Hindu, one of the oldest, sadly closed down by end 1981.  At the time of its fading away, the paper's circulation was an anaemic 10,000, of which 3,000 copies were reportedly returned unsold.  The Mail was part of Madras culture, and had a lot of firsts to its credit, including the initiative in giving importance to local news and in publishing picture pages.

In 2013 came the news that the owners of renowned Readers Digest filed for bankruptcy for the second time in less than four years, citing a greater-than-expected decline of the media industry. Most of you would know ‘Playboy’ – easily one of globally recognized magazine too had announced shutting down after its Apr issue – the print edition.   In an announcement made via an open letter on Medium, the CEO of Playboy Enterprises, said the decision to stop printing the magazine – which has been a quarterly since 2019 – had been discussed internally for some time, but was expedited by the coronavirus crisis. “As the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic to content production and the supply chain became clearer and clearer, we were forced to accelerate a conversation we’ve been having internally: the question of how to transform our US print product to better suit what consumers want today … [and] engage in a cultural conversation each and every day, rather than just every three months,” he said.  Playboy magazine was founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953, and became  a global brand, encompassing TV shows, merchandise, resorts, clubs, a record label and events.  In 2016, the magazine experimented with no longer publishing full frontal nude pictures of women; internet pornography had made them “passe”, and a PG-13 magazine would be easier to sell to advertisers and display on news stands. But by Feb  2017, Playboy reversed the decision.

Getting back to ‘Mount Road Maha Vishnu’ – The Hindu was founded in Sept 1878 by what was then known as ‘Triplicane Six’ comprising of 4 law students and 2 teachers.    Started in order to support the campaign of Sir T. Muthuswamy Iyer for a judgeship at the Madras High Court and to counter the propaganda against him carried out by the Anglo-Indian press, The Hindu was one of the newspapers of the period established to protest the policies of the British Raj.

Today, TOI proudly announces the news that they are way ahead of the Hindu.  The report states that  The Times of India remains the No 1 English daily in Chennai, growing steadily over the last four quarters to touch an average issue readership (AIR) of 2.96 lakh, shows the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS). The IRS for the fourth quarter of 2019 shows TOI Chennai increased its lead over the nearest competitor, The Hindu, to 49,000 from 1,000 in the first quarter. While TOI Chennai’s AIR grew by 17,000 between IRS quarter three and quarter four, The Hindu’s AIR dropped by 20,000.

TOI is also the fastest growing English daily in the rest of Tamil Nadu — it grew 165% by the fourth quarter compared to the IRS first quarter figures. In the fourth quarter alone, TOI’s AIR grew by 12,000 in the rest of Tamil Nadu, compared to The Hindu’s growth of 2,000.  The Times of India remains the dominant market leader among English dailies countrywide, with a total readership of more than 1.73 crore, almost equal to the combined readership of the three biggest dailies from outside the Times Group — The Hindu, Hindustan Times and The Indian Express.

Times of India is no great newspaper – the pagination is not appealing and often one finds many mistakes in the language and style .. .. yet The Hindu has fallen way behind and it is time they ponder on what went wrong.  For many the name now is a ‘misnomer’.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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