The impact of economic slowdown on Indian media companies may still be discussed only in hushed whispers, but many media companies are taking necessary steps to protect their businesses, and in some cases, extreme ones too. Voice of India, from the Triveni Media Ltd (TML), has recently laid off of 250 plus employees. From a team of 900-plus, the organisation is now working with a workforce of 650 plus to run its existing three news channels – VOI National, VOI MP Chattisgarh and VOI Rajasthan.
Not that the slowdown has dampened the plans of the channel. VOI Plans to launch more channels, and has earmarked a sum of Rs 75 crore to invest in these channels. It is understood that VOI would also be coming up with an IPO “once the current market turbulence is over”.
In an internal email sent by Madhur Mittal, CMD, TML, he has said, “Unfortunately, due to some wrong policies and decisions we hired a 900-plus team for running one news channel. This made us bleed in the very first year. Due to excess hiring, corrective action had to be taken immediately. Under these circumstances, some of our team members and your friends had resign from the organisation. Now, after taking corrective measures, we stand to operate five news channels with just a 650-plus team. For this I need your support and determination to make VOI regain its worth.”
For the record, of the five channels, three have been launched, while the other two news channels would be launched in the Punjab and Haryana belt and in Uttar Pradesh. There is another non-news channel expected from the group called Millionaire.
In his mail, Mittal has taken cognizance of the fact that salaries have been delayed at VOI for the last two months. He has assured the team of compensations to make good the delay in the form of a month’s basic salary and also in the form of ESOPs (VOI shares).
It is also learnt that VOI has let go of 3 per cent of its stake to both The Times of India and Hindustan Times, and is in talks with Dainik Bhaskar. It is said in the mail that “This is to improve the national and regional editorial content and VOI Branding.”
A senior person of VOI on bases of anonymity said, “The reason the team has been bough down to 650 is because some of the people in the organisation were not performing and were asked to leave, while some others left on their own.”
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