The past few months have seen an intense battle between The Times of India and Hindustan Times over numbers for Delhi and NCR. Both dailies had published reports with claims and counter claims, and the battle peaked in the recent days with TOI's 'morning challenge' and HT's hints at sabotage at its distribution centres.
exchange4media spoke to Rahul Kansal, President, Brand Function, BCCL and Shantanu Bhanja, Vice President, Marketing and Business Head, HT Media to find out if the war of words is affecting advertising in the festive season.
While both of them denied it, it is obvious that the cycle of claims and counter claims is not getting over anytime soon.
While Kansal said the idea behind the Morning Challenge was to let advertisers know the “truth” about TOI's leadership in the market, and that there was only 'one horse' in the race, Bhanja dismissed the argument saying, “people are smart, they can take their own decisions.”
Hinting that the TOI is not ready to wind down the high-pitched campaign to counter HT's claims of circulation figures, Kansal said, “The moment the truth (about TOI's leadership) is known, we will back off.” Bhanja however brushed aside the 'blame game' saying, “There is no blame game, just one crybaby.”
It all started last Saturday with the Times of India advertisement that read ‘The Truth shall prevail. Specially at 6am.' The ad further read, ‘You may have read some claims and counter claims about readership and circulation of English dailies in Delhi and NCR. But the truth simply is: for the ‘regular’ copies of the TOI and HT (i.e. fully loaded copies that carry supplements and are listed in ABC as single or combo) TOI is 38% ahead of HT.
HT responded on Tuesday morning by hinting at sabotage. Without naming names, the newspaper carried an article about an alleged case of 'missing copies.' “Whodunit: Removing HT market copies to win ‘morning challenge’?” Without naming names, the newspaper carried an article about an alleged case of 'missing copies.' “Whodunit: Removing HT market copies to win ‘morning challenge’?”
Watch this video to know more: