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Going digital and staying ahead of times...
Going digital and staying ahead of times...
By: Senthilkumar Rajappan

So that’s billed as a big fight! Infact one of the twitterati that I follow named it as bitch fight. One TVC and three months later another series to give it back in their own words or say giving a taste of their own medicine.

Well I am talking about the big fight between The Hindu and the Times of India with their TVCs, you can see all the The Hindu videos & TOI which have created quite a debate and a following in traditional lines that Hindu reader normally does, take sides and also the TOI reader snaring / laughing off at the portrayal.

 

Now coming back to why I chose to write on this, well I have been a regular reader of the Hindu ever since I got subscribed to it say from 1991 or so till the last one year before I came to Delhi. My association with the Hindu has been diverse, a reader, an advertiser, a PR guy. But my association remains the best as a reader that’s when you get to enjoy all the best the Hindu has to offer.

I read with interest this article which appeared in Forbes blog. Very interesting take on why the ad in question from TOI actually woke up the Hindu. To a great extent, it is true and in fact my being in Delhi has changed the readership routine to Times of India for obvious reasons. I still get a hang of the Hindu online everyday even tweeting some interesting takes on my home town on and off. But to keep up the smell of the coffee I just buy a copy of the Hindu from Saket bookstall on Saturdays and Sundays during my walk.

The Delhi edition or rather the one printed at Allahabad or Mohali is very thin – less number of pages, but you get the Sunday Magazine and the usual Saturday stuff.

My early remembrances of the Hindu include the Saturday Sports special, which I started missing it when they stopped it altogether. They also did away with the last page sports reporting which was my favorite page. I reckon all the tennis reporting these days would not come close to the way they did without the internet and stuff we have today. But today is another different story. Then there was this change of design and all that which made news without dateline and it was fun reading those days when you could actually find same news items twice in the news paper or sometimes churned out the very next day.

And yes it has been a long way and editorially though I wouldn’t approve of it quite a few times, we would necessarily brag about the way its written; that immaculate English and the vocabulary that it imparts, it sheer brilliance and that what the stuff is made of at the Hindu. No doubt they refer the Hindu as a paper of study for the civil services.

Now you know all the questions that were asked were actually a part of the UPSC exams. It had caught the imagination of the ad industry and the people who read the Hindu, but my only hunch is will anyone from the TOI brandwagon jump the ship. True the south doesn’t celebrate the Bollywood or any of the Kollywood or Tollywood or Mollywood in the way the English dailies up north do it. There are no gossip columns there. There are a number of vernacular magazines which bridge the gap.

I think I am seeing a different newspaper in the Hindu in the sense they are also going commercial and also thinking about marketing, not that they were lame about it. I still think the Sportstar ads by Lintas were one of the best ever. But now it’s the time to be heard loud and may be this reaction. So welcome aboard the tough seas, the Hindu.

I will be missing the point if I don’t talk about the ads. The ads are well shot and are cute in fact, that’s a ridiculous comment you may say but what do you do when you know that lip sync is so obvious. Isn’t that the cute part. I should also be proud of the fact that I cracked almost 100% in all the ads. Now where is my big prize? Jokes apart it was trying to sell a bit of intellectual pursuit which is fine in a way but would the hurt guy (one mocked at) bite the bullet. They are a happy lot anyways! But they were entertaining for sure… Well that’s my personal take! It was nice seeing The Hindu take an aggressive stand though will have to wait for the business part of the subscriptions.

A look at the celebrity followers in India especially on twitter will give the reason why Page 3 exists so much than all pages, it’s actually the 10 pages of Page 3 news articles which they call it the city times. You could also blame it on twitter and @Srbachchan for letting the world know that Ash was pregnant on twitter.

Anyways this should be good for the TV Channels, who are making money out of Newspaper fights.

On the other hand it is also noteworthy that they made a viral out of the ads they did. I got to know of the TOI ad after this hit back by The Hindu. That was the best part and it was on my timeline so many times both on FB and twitter. That perhaps is a lesson for all marketers. My take out of the episode: Digital is here, it is here to stay and grow big, now you get to choose whether you want to stay ahead of times or not.