The game of thrones between TOI and HT is not likely to end any time soon. Just recently, the two dailies had sent mailers taking a dig at each other. We spoke to TOI’s Executive President, Brand Function, Rahul Kansal, who said, “That is just a reaction when they can’t really combat us with facts. Our main point is that a very proportion of HTs circulation in Delhi consists of a product which most of the people never seen or heard of.”
He added, “There is something they call HT 2 Minutes and it is supposed to be a 12-pager which contains summary of some stories from the main paper, it hardly carried any ads of the main paper yet represented about the 25 per cent of their total circulation Now using this I would say ‘Scam Product’ they managed to show that the total circulation is comparable to ours also since 25 per cent of their copies are this product, which is barely 12-16 pages as compared to 40 pages of same day HT.”
He said HT 2 Minutes is a daily sachet product of main newspaper. Adding further, he said, “Our thesis is a large part of their readership comes only because of this product (HT 2 Min) on which the advertiser has no control so 25 per cent of their circulation of all copies printed in Delhi consists of this sachet product which does not carry any ad of HT City, where the advertisers feel they are paying for entire ten lakhs whereas in reality they are not getting 2.5 lakhs out of that, that’s the problem.”
On HT’s figures and numbers on the basis of Indian Readership Survey (IRS) and Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), he replied, “First of all about IRS not only us but 15 other publishers have said the most incomprehensible document because it has lot of illogical results but the one company seems to have benefited with every aspect of IRS is HT and all publications of HT Media. One of the hypotheses we have it that if 25 per cent of the copies are going to be the sachet products which are in any case landing up in lots of Hindustan homes, so people will definitely say that they have seen the newspaper but no one knows which one they have seen ( HT Main edition or 2 Mins).”
He also pointed out, If 25 percent of the copies are going out in the market is this sachet product one has to assume that the 25 per cent readership is also of product where advertising is necessarily is not going to be carried.
Kansal also shared how it is going to impact the advertisers and what is the solution of this blame game which was started last year.
He said, “It’s a pity that two large media groups are doing this and it’s a pity we had to resort to this. We have tried hard to get them to back off from this sachet product of theirs, but when they are going to show up their readership figures on the back of a product that we believe is fundamentally dishonest, then we have no option but to take that matter to the public.”
Kansal advised that the permanent solution is to create a strong, tamper-proof IRS that has so many checks and balances
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Blame Game- TOI vs HT