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March 17, 2008

Flurry of business media launches

Businessworld has an article on the heightened activity in the business media sector.
Global titles, such as Fortune and Forbes, are clearly betting on their brand name and India’s growing economy to make a place for themselves. India, with its huge English-speaking audience, is one of a few countries where the news business is growing. That’s what lured The Wall Street Journal into partnering the Hindustan Times to launch the business daily Mint. A host of non-media organisations is also believed to be keen on entering media. For instance, the Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO), a group of rich Jains, has decided to launch a business monthly Jito World in English and Gujarati. The grapevine has it that there are many suitors for the deeply-in-debt Business India. One name doing the rounds is the Motilal Oswal group, which has been wooing Advani, who has thus far not given in. Recently, Advani, who holds a 51 per cent stake in Business India, has secured a few rounds of funding from private investors. His creditors and employees will cheer a deal, no doubt.

...There will be a shakeout as no economy in the world has so many business dailies. So while the success of many of these publications is unclear, their fight for manpower is sending salaries soaring and fancy designations are for the asking. Many more are breaking past the one-‘lach’ per month sound barrier! The star recruiter is the yet-to-be-launched business daily from the Deccan Chronicle stable. Says R Jagannathan, managing editor of DNA, who is also a former editor of BW, “We are now getting brighter people because of the hikes, but some of the cleverer ones have also got in. I think it is time to go to journalism schools and have courses tailormade for a paper’s needs.”

On the idiot box front, Ronnie Screwvala’s business channel, UTV-i, has been moving slowly due to shortage of good heads. Folks at CNBC have not taken the bait on account of the shares and shelters in Mumbai they have been given. UTV-i is expected to go on air sometime in March this year.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.