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Cross media alignments: Nothing official about it!

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Cross media alignments: Nothing official about it!

It’s been a hush-hush issue for long, but now more players are openly talking about the working professional relationships that are happening out of the realm. For most channels, which do not have cross-media (radio, print etc) presence, an opportunity that is working well is a “cashless”, “not on paper” tie-up with organisations with whom they have a “mutual understanding”.

A lot of these cross-media tie-ups have emerged into good partnerships. The reason for the tie-up may be varied like content sharing, barter, enhancing brand recall, or for that matter, starting a new project all together. But the good thing is that somewhere it also renders “one-ness” despite the heavy competition.

On the growing partnerships, especially between channels and print media, Uday Shankar, CEO, Media Content Communications and Services (MCCS), a JV between ABP TV and STAR Group, said, “News is a growing business and it is very natural for channels to have an understanding with the newspapers, considering the domain expertise that is there with the print medium.”

MCCS is a joint venture between ABP TV – a 100 per cent subsidiary of ABP Pvt Ltd – and STAR News Broadcasting Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the STAR Group, incorporated in September 2003 for broadcasting STAR News. In fact, STAR Ananda, the recently launched Bengali channel, leverages the strengths of the ABP network for local news.

Another ‘cozy’ relationship is observed between NDTV 24x7 and The Indian Express, wherein the print edition carries the transcription of Walk the Talk, a show hosted by The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta for the channel. The transcription of the show is placed on the newspaper’s “Oped” page. Also during events such as elections or budget specials, the two are seen working in tandem.

In fact, an industry expert pointed out that such relations were very common between newspapers and news channels. “During important national events such as budgets, elections, etc, it’s common for the ‘like-minded’ to work together and jointly cover and analyse it,” he added.

A symbiotic relation can also be witnessed between business channels and newspapers. CNBC-TV 18, for instance, has an official arrangement for content sharing with Rajasthan Patrika, Sandesh and Statesman. Ajay Chacko, Head-Marketing, CNBC-TV 18, said, “The arrangement is such that we give exclusive stories on business and stock market to these newspapers to power their business pages. In turn, the newspapers give CNBC-TV 18 the opportunity to increase visibility, depth of reach and build a bigger investor base. We also work together with them for small and medium initiatives.” The bonding between the channel and the dailies started a year-and-a-half back, when the channel was scouting for the right partners in their expansion plans.

The bonding goes down South too. Even Tamil daily, Daily Thanthi, has an arrangement with The Economic Times, wherein the latter provides content to boost the business pages of the leading Tamil newspaper. K R Skandraaj, Chief Manager, Marketing, Daily Thanthi, said, “There was a need felt by the management that business page should be introduced for the SEC A readers of the paper. For this, we tied up with ET so that we could pick any content from the business daily. In return, Daily Thanthi carries The Economic Times branding on that page and no advertisements are permitted on this page.” He informed that the tie-up, which took place in January 2004, had worked very efficiently for both the parties.

Sometimes it’s a marriage between the right partner and the opportunity that clicks. Asked on the genesis of Zee-Bhaskar tie-up, Sanjeev Kotnala, SR GM, Brand and Strategy, Dainik Bhaskar, said, “We thought of launching a newspaper in English and found the right partner who also saw the opportunity.” He added that the right relations could often fructify into good business opportunities.

Interestingly, R Sundar, Director, Corporate, Times Group, believed that partnerships worked wonderfully when “the transaction is of mutual convenience and is cashless”. “For the organisation that does not have cross media presence, tie-ups is one of the ways by which they can be present in all segments of media and at the same time share resources and infrastructure,” he said.

A case of birds of a feather flocking together indeed!


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