Media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd. has filed a case in the Mumbai High Court against rival newspaper group The Indian Express, and has claimed Rs 500 crore as damages for a recent advertising campaign in the paper which, according to its petition, shows The Times of India (TOI) in a poor light.
Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd., which publishes TOI, has already obtained a stay against printing and distribution of the controversial advertisement and is now seeking an injunction against the advertising campaign.
The case comes up for hearing on April 23. The controversial campaign, designed by advertising agency Equus, compares the readership and circulation figures of The Indian Express with those of TOI in Pune. The numbers show that despite a higher circulation, TOI lags behind The Indian Express in terms of readership.
The advertisement which the Times Group took exception to says “Figures show, people in Pune don’t buy The Times of India to read it” and the accompanying visual suggests that TOI was being used as a toilet roll.
The three-series campaign compares the two newspapers on the basis of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) certified figures for July-December 2000, and the National Readership Survey 2000. (NRS).
The Indian Express campaign was in response to an earlier advertisement by TOI, which claimed leadership in circulation.
The controversial advertisement campaign also claims that in the age group of 25 years to 44 years, The Indian Express has a readership of 71,200 compared to The Times of India's 46,100.
The campaign concludes with the help of the NRS figures that The Indian Express has stolen a march over its rival in Pune. The Pune newspaper market has been rapidly growing in the last few years, when both The Indian Express and The Times of India have made special efforts at increasing their presence.