Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The TOI (Finally) Comes To Chennai ..

It is good news for Chennaiites, we'll have a newspaper which can rival our own 'The Hindu'. The Times Of India will start operations in Chennai very soon, and 'The Hindu' finally gets some real competition for the first time. We might have 3 English dailies right now, but Express and Deccan Chronicle are no where near 'The Hindu' on quality of content and readership (the DC is really a joke with all the crass content, excessive spelling and printing errors and bordering on tabloid-style reporting). Though i've heard that the Express has very good political editorials( and we know about the Hindu's pro-congress stand, but i've not had the chance to read many of Express's editorials, cos' we don't buy the Express at home) so that should keep them going for a while.

But now with TOI entering the scene( now, why did they take so long ? how come they did not consider a Chennai edition till now ? Are they really anti-south India as everyone says ?) the people over at 'The Hindu' need to start watching their backs, in a few months time after the TOI gets a firm hold in Chennai, they are really going to bring it on. Not that 'The Hindu' is going to lose all its subscribers overnight, but then they should understand that with the TOI coming in the people have a choice, and they'll be very happy to make the switch if their expectations aren't met. And all of this competition is definitely good for us cos' we can expect value from our choice. And for the Express and the DC this news means even lesser numbers, so maybe it is time for them to pull up their socks and start looking for those long forgotten thinking caps and improve their standards, else they'll be left behind in this race.

Also the TOI has a few interesting subscription offers for its founder members(of course, i'll subscribe). By being a founder member you could get the TOI at less than 1 rupee per day, and also you get to be a part of history(too much?).

Subscription offers:

6 Months - 170 bucks - You get an 'exclusive sports & travel bag free' ( what the heck ? 'exclusive' ? But, still you get the TOI for .94 bucks, totally worth it)

12 months - 299 bucks - You get an' exclusive(again?) Stainless Steel flask' ( .84 rupees per day, need i say more ?)

You need to SMS ' TOIC' to 58888, and a subscription agent will call you back for the rest of the process(i'm still waiting for that call though, i'm guessing the call will come only after the holiday season), or you could call 24317979 to speak to an agent.



Arun Sundar said...

"Are they really anti-south India as everyone says?"

Maybe you should ask if they are anti-chennai, coz they are already there in Hyd, Blore, etc., :)

Well...Hindu has been in the reign in Chennai for over 125 yrs. TOI will hv to fight(with the price, quality, ads), just like they did in Delhi with HT. And I also heard that Hindu is taking over TOI in Mumbai(Not sure of the validity of this - might as well be a rumour). Tough fights, huh? But whatever shape it takes, readers will be the winners :)

Guru said...

Yep, i guess that was it. I wanted to ask whether they were anti-TN.

ela said...

Yeah sure, the readers will be the winners if this fight increases the quality of the reporting and news, which i find is on the decline of lately....in case if the competition of newspapers turns out to be like the one among the TV channels, then only more crap to wade thru....

agingvictor said...

After so many decades, The Hindu has an equalent competitor. The TOI is the darling of the masses all over India except TN and Kerala. In TN we have the world standard 'The Hindu' and in Kerala they have their own regional dailies that match world standards. That is the reason why no other paper could match The Hindu and Malayala Manorama in these two states. Now, as TOI enters Chennai, the people living in the city who are from the states other than TN would defenetly try TOI, because they've been used to it as we've been sticked wit Hindu. We know that Chennai is being filled wit more northies... so they'l opt for TOI rather for The Hindu. I've talked to my other state friends..what they feel is that Hindu is left biased... mainly their editorials. But in TOI we get articles from both the wings-right & the left, actually TOI don't take any stand on the issues unlike The Hindu which delibrately voices it's views. So people, mostly the young who have read the Hindu only after Mr.Ram took over would defenitely go for TOI.
Then, did any one note the marketing strategy of TOI? They are doing door-to-door marketing making t people join as 'founder members' of the chennai editon at subscribtion rates lower than Re.1 (Rs.169 for 6 months & Rs.299 for 1 yr). so their target is the household subscribers who read Hindu. The main reason why DC could not compete with Hindu is that they could not woo the household subscribers. But TOI is doing it. Natuarlly people would compare t rates of The Hindu which is more than Rs.1000 per year wit TOI. So, more chances of people going for TOI. They would atleast try a 6 month package to see the quality though they would also be getting The Hindu.
The Hindu is not going to rewamp it's style, as it had just to a new contemporary look and it's similar to the TOI. If you compare the banglore edition of TOI, the concentrate more onthe local issues, more than 6 pages go for the City news, but The Hindu concentrates on the southern states, the other districts of TN and teh city news in these 6 pages. TOI adds more glamour (as New Indian Express does)to the paper, mostly the supplement part. So youth would go try the TOI.
Anyway it's a positive competion were the customers get benefitted. Till now we did not have a worthy alternative to the Hindu, we should be glad that we've got one now. Chennai city with most number of english speaking people was way behind in English journalism..but now we are gonna get a variety.
Let's welcome TOI. But i feel The Hindu has provided with the best to chennaiaits and we hope they stick to the standards even after TOI coming in.

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