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ET's story is factually inconsistent and unfortunate: Shantanu Bhanja

ET's story is factually inconsistent and unfortunate: Shantanu Bhanja

Author | Abid Hasan | Monday, Jun 16,2014 9:14 AM

ET's story is factually inconsistent and unfortunate: Shantanu Bhanja

Friday morning‘s edition of Economic Times last week took on Hindustan Times’ growth numbers as per IRS in no unclear manner.  With a provocative headline ‘ All Down & 0ut, HT  Up and About, Media industry foxed.’

In response to Economic Times story contesting HT’s readership numbers, HT published a story in the main edition of Saturday saying ‘TOI cannot digest readers’ message, shoots messenger’.

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Economic Times takes on HT numbers on the back of IRS results

The Economic Times report took on HT as it stated, “Even as most newspaper titles across genres show sharp declines, one media group has surprisingly bucked the trend across the board with a uniformly upward trajectory — the Hindustan Times group. Amongst the English national dailies, for instance, Hindustan Times saw its readership grow 13%. The three other top dailies (which had combined circulation almost three times that of HT in the 2012 round), all saw drops in readership. The Times of India fell by 5%, The Hindu by a staggering 32% and The Telegraph by a huge 26%.”

The report further states, “If it wasn't odd enough that the HT group has managed to buck national readership trends across its Hindi, English and business dailies, it's done the same when it comes to another key statistic, readership per copy, or RPC (simply, the number of readers who read one copy of the publication). The RPC of Hindustan Times, for instance, is a staggering 17 readers per copy in Noida, and 12 in Gurgaon. This is similar for key markets such as Mumbai and Delhi as well for HT and Mint, which has an RPC that's double that of its nearest competitor in Delhi. Similarly, Hindustan has an RPC of 5.5, more than double that of rival dailies.”

Talking to exchange4media, Shantanu Bhanja, VP, Marketing, HT Media said, “It’s unfortunate that ET has published a story that is factually incorrect with lots of inconsistencies in the data. Given that the IRS validation is happening as per the industry’s request, and that validation is due any time now, all of us have agreed that we will wait for the validation to come out. At this time, bringing out a story which is inconsistent with facts, and inconsistent with their own claims in the beginning is unfortunate.”
On the question of this impacting Brand HT, Bhanja said, “Perhaps more than impacting HT, it impacts their own brand. One can see that the same newspaper is holding diametrically opposite views. It brings out their own credibility as a news organisation because we expect brands that are so credible and rich in history to be consistent.”

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