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Mixed Media: Why I have re-subscribed to The Economic Times (and more April Fool headlines I wish were true)

30-March-2010
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Mixed Media: Why I have re-subscribed to The Economic Times (and more April Fool headlines I wish were true)

My favourite morning newspaper is Mint, having discontinued buying #1 business daily for around a year, though I read it online. But there is another reason why I have just asked my news vendor to start door-delivering the pink paper to me once again: it’s GoaFest time.

For the last two years, The Economic Times has scooped the results of the creative Abbys, and being keen on figuring who’s bagged the honours this year, I thought it wise to subscribe. The Abby results were leaked to the paper for two consecutive years, and not a soul has changed from the team that was at the helm at the Advertising Club in the last year. I am, of course, dismissing the coincidence that the Ad Club President is also President of Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd, publishers of The Economic Times. The fact that the Ad Club President’s tenure was renewed last year (after the second leak), should clear all doubts.

The Advertising Club is a fair organization, and I am sure it has made efforts to check the leak this year. Like it’s been happening so very often in the Indian Premier League, I expect The Economic Times and someone at the Ad Club/ GoaFest managements to score a hattrick. Not of sixers or wickets, but of spoilers. Moreover, everyone in the Club – officebearers and the secretariat – are the same, I surely don’t want to lose the opportunity of knowing the results well in advance.

If you’re wondering why I am so cool about the Abbys leak and not as agitated as I was last year, it’s because no one really cares. No major embarrassment, no hiding behind a veil or just not turning up at the event. Or is it that not many take the Abbys seriously? After all, it’s decidedly not the selection of the best of creative, given that biggie Lowe stays away. And it opts out not because it doesn’t think it’s got no creative work to show or it’s got no budgets, but because it doesn’t think too much of the Abbys judging procedure.

The April Fool joke’s on me...

I revisited the column that I did on this date last year on the 10 April Fool headlines I wish would turn out to be true. The following were the make-believe headlines I wished were for real.

#10: 9X finds a suitor, Peter Mukerjea gets a new benefactor
#09: Newspapers up cover price. Times/ HT/ Hindu/ DNA now priced at Rs 10; ET/ BS/ Mint at Rs 15
#8: Pitch fees become mandatory for all accounts above Rs 5 crore
#07: Salaries back to pre-cut/ 2009 levels
#06: Channel owners fight carriage fee
#05: News allowed on FM radio
#04: DAVP rates hike permanent
#03: Lowe sends entries for Abbys
#02: And, now, Abbys for creative excellence in unpublished work
#01: Times shuts Medianet, no editorial guarantee on Treaties

Well, none of these have indeed happened, save possibly #07 which has occurred at some organisations.

Are there any fresh April Fool headlines that I hope turn true? Well, several. Here are some (starting from 11, given that the 10 of last year are pending):

April Fool Joke #15: Digital goes beyond lip service. The numbers are there in the digital medium, it’s time the adwallahs think big about the digital media... beyond ‘Sholay’ and Rajnikanth take-off puhleez.

April Fool Joke #14: IPL 3 and news media learn to co-exist. No point having last-minute tiffs since both IPL, Max and the news channels need each other to build the enthusiasm and ratings and up the gate monies.

April Fool Joke #13: News channels convince intelligentsia that there’s nothing wrong with dumbing down and some sensationalism. This is how Indians are, some of our channel owners, CEOs and editors tell us. There’s nothing wrong in a bit of sensationalising and going over the top. Perhaps. After all who are we to define news.

April Fool Joke #12: Paid news is put under check by the Election Commission.
The only way one can stop paid news in newspapers, especially the kind that’s engineered by politicians around the time of elections, is if the Election Commission puts in some strict checks in the system and also permits higher ad spends.

April Fool Joke #11: Abbys results at GoaFest are not leaked.

Some sanctity for awards is not a bad idea. Need to have the judging at GoaFest on the day preceding the awards night… like it’s at the Cannes Lions.

(The views expressed above are my own. Post your comments below or email me at pradyumanm@exchange4media.com or tweet me at @pmahesh.)

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