In the latest on the war between two major dailies The Times of India and Deccan Chronicle in the Hyderabad market, DC is claiming that The Times of India has been pillaging classified ads and placing them in TOI.
It was found that the series of ads that the Deccan Chronicle published later appeared in TOI. All the ads in Deccan Chronicle have the newspaper name and unique CA codes and box numbers which is unique to each newspaper and individual who advertises in DC’s classified section. For instance, one of the classified ads that was published in DC on February 11, 2013 had been carried in TOI on February 24, 2013 with DC box number, address and title.
So, Deccan Chronicle has filed a criminal complaint against TOI’s action. The court has asked the police to further investigate on this matter and an FIR has also been registered.
Speaking to exchange4media, a DC spokesperson, on condition of anonymity said, “We don't need to say anything more. The proof is there for all to see. As the case has already been taken up by court, we will wait for them to take the appropriate action.”
When questioned on TOI celebrating on reaching 5 lakh circulation figures in Tamil Nadu and coming out with a campaign on December 05, 2014, DC spokesperson said, “Regarding the claims of 5 lakh circulation in TN, it's quite clear from all their recent actions that despite being a leading publication, this media group is capable of bending the rules. As we all know, they don't subscribe to the same circulation audit as the rest of the publications in the country, so who is to verify these claims?”
Arunabh das Sharma, President, BCCL said, “The matter is sub judice and we can’t comment on this.”
In an article published on December 05, 2014, DC stated, “ From early January 2013 to somewhere in June some 1,000-odd classified ads that appeared in the DC also landed in The Times of India for some weeks albeit a few days later. This was when DC was uploading its net edition in PDF format where it is easy to download and use. So lazy was it that it happily copied DC’s style, spellers and even DC’s codes etc. It was funny that the classifieds in The Times of India would ask people responding to “their” advertisements that they could contact Deccan Chronicle. Naturally DC moved to the jpg format in lower resolution and that is when the pillaging of ads became difficult and the quantum dropped.”
It also stated, “The Times of India in unabashedly plundering DC’s advertisements was not just trying to shine in reflected glory but undermining Deccan Chronicle and cheating its readers. DC’s readers have clearly said they do not like it. And they have lodged written complaints. They are outraged. They had struck their bargains and the repeat ads made them look like they were betraying the trust of the buyer by looking for better deals.”
This is not the first battle that we have heard of, we have seen TOI and HT battle on the circulation front also, but one needs to wait and watch how the blame game takes a shape and who wins the battle.