Is Economic Times in a turf war with the Times of India?

Are we seeing a turf war between editors or senior management at the two titles? The short answer to the question: no.

Anant Rangaswami April 11, 2014 11:13:07 IST
Is Economic Times in a turf war with the Times of India?

“Forget the times when you were late on a story,” says the headline in an ad for The Economic Times, released in Mumbai Mirror. “Breaking more political stories ahead of any other newspaper, including The Times of India,” the body copy says.

Here’s the ad:

Is Economic Times in a turf war with the Times of India

The art is terrible, but that’s not the point of this post.

The point is, what in heaven is happening, with The Economic Times making wisecracks at the cost of the sibling, The Times of India?

Are we seeing a turf war between editors or senior management at the two titles?
The short answer to the question: no.

Anyone who has a modicum of understanding of how the owners of Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited, publishers of both titles, operate will look for another answer.

The answer, to me, is that The Economic Times is being set up to get into battle with the competitors of The Times of India, including the Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Telegraph and The Indian Express.

The use of the line “including The Times of India” in the body copy is but a device to draw attention to the depth and width of political coverage in The Economic Times.

The appeal for a pink paper, such as The Economic Times, is limited to those interested purely in business and finance. For other news, especially for politics and sports, one needs a non-pink paper.

What if the ET gave you more of politics and sport, as they have done? The broadening of the content to include politics and sport, increases the target market, hopefully increasing the readership of the title – and the attractiveness to advertisers.

It’s not just politics and sports. The quiet introduction of Panache, a 6 page supplement that gives the reader dollops of food, culture, music, sports, fashion, tech and auto delivered in a lighter, more accessible tone, broadens the paper even more – and will certainly have caught the attention of adevertisers in categories that would have, hitherto, ignored ET.

What we are seeing, then, is the slow fading of the pink Economic Times into white.

Which is why white papers ought to keep an eye on ET’s changing hue.

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