In addition to the warfare that is taking place between Bennett, Coleman and Company and Mid-Day Multimedia in the editorials of both the papers, Mid-Day has filed a complaint with Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) against the story that was carried in TOI on June 28, 2005, headlined ‘Small is big’. ABC officials are looking into the matter.
The complaint letter, addressed to ABC secretariat, questioned the reference to Mid-Day circulation in a sentence of the report 'sales drop to 1.24 lakh copies, from its earlier high of 1.4 lakh according to ABC JD’04’. As is known, Mid-Day’s circulation is 1.42 lakhs, according to ABC June to December 2004 and the next set of data can be expected only in July 2005, for the period January to June 2005.
For ABC officials, this is a protest that needs to be examined by the disciplinary committee but beyond that it is too premature for the bureau to offer any further comments.
The points that Mid-Day raised is that the 1.24 lakh number mentioned in the report is fabricated. It said, “There is no basis, no source for these numbers. This report is deliberately misleading and hence detrimental to our business interests. This is just wishful thinking on part of Times of India,” said Rajesh Tahil, Group Publisher, Mid-Day.
Tahil further added, “In order to make Mumbai Mirror look good, they are using Mid-Day as a comparison and that is what we take objection to. If anything, in the past few months, our circulation has grown. We are not allowed to publish any number until the audit figure is here and the same rule applies to any ABC member.”
The Times of India, however, doesn’t see the problem in the matter. Rahul Kansal, Brand Director, Times of India, said, “The report in question is about Mumbai Mirror and the success that it is enjoying as the clear No. 2 paper in Mumbai now, following Times of India. There is nothing else to it.”
The action that Mid-Day is looking for, according to Tahil is simple, “Either restrain and correct them of these false numbers they have published or allow Mid-Day to publish the right numbers.”
How soon will ABC offer something on this isn’t known, even whether the bureau will address this problem as an ABC issue isn’t clear yet.