Media Monocle 1
Headlines Now, Zee’s limitless bounty and a midnight Twitter squabble. An eye on what’s keeping the media busy.
A Headline tribute. But to whom?
What NDTV does today, Headlines Today does 8 months later? At 6am this morning, Headlines Today unveiled its fresh new look, which was announced last night on India’s favourite broadcast medium – Twitter. Gone are the earlier drab colours, which were so unmemorable we are having trouble recalling what they were. In is a new red, white and blue look.
Is this a tribute to the American flag, just in time for the US elections? Or is it a tribute to Times Now? If you switch between the two channels, you wouldn’t be blamed for being confused. Will they take the Times Now tribute further and make all their newsreaders sport a Johny Bravo-do a.k.a. Arnab Goswami?
Zee, shining on
If you thought Naveen Jindal’s sting would knock the wind out of Zee’s sails, think again. It seems the channel’s simply been buoyed forward. It’s rumoured that Zee has finally undertaken a 100% takeover of Hindi daily, Amar Ujala. A buyout which seemed to have been in the offing since 2006.
It had been reported in 2006, that the Company Law Board had asked for a report on the funding pattern of the buyout of Amar Ujala’s Maheshwaris by the Agarwals (a minority partner). It was claimed (by the Maheshwaris) that the Zee Group was financing the Agarwals. According to a Business Standard report, the Maheshwaris’ counsel had claimed at the time that Zee’s funding was equivalent to an “indirect takeover” and that Mediavest, the funding agency supported by Zee, was “neither a financial institution nor a banker nor a lending agency…and that they were not paying directly to the Agarwals but rather issuing pay-orders in the name of IDBI, which was acting as the escrow agent”.
Haww!!! Zee involved in nefarious dealings? You don’t say. Well, Amar Ujala has made an honest media house of Zee and it seems the takeover will be officially announced in the next couple of days. Badhai ho!
Listen to your elders, it’s nini-time
Move over Naipaul and Karnad, there’s another squabble in town. And it’s far more fun. Because during this one, any attempt at an intellectual discussion was nipped in the bud within a few minutes. The sparring partners were Business Standard’s Mihir Sharma and self-proclaimed veteran journalist and Indian Express columnist, Tavleen Singh. Sharma ruffled Singh’s feathers during a Twitter chat the duo were having on Naipaul. Sharma claimed that, “as a friend of his, your (Singh’s) defence seemed, understandably, moved by basic pro-Naipaul sentiment”. Singh immediately channeled her convent upbringing and said that she was, “proud to be a friend of Naipaul. But let’s judge him on what he has said or written and not from bias and chippiness”.
And when the argument refused to go as planned – or maybe she was indeed feeling sleepy – she pointed out a pecking order which we didn’t know existed on Twitter and told Sharma, “You have too few followers for me to continue this conversation. Nini time Mihir”.
Twitter was immediately abuzz with bad jokes on caste systems, Singh’s way with words and phrases and love for the popular. We feel Singh should be recognised for showing concern that Mihir went to bed on time and didn’t waste any more hours on the internet. Mihir in turn has let the Twitter world know that he has indeed “slept particularly well”.
Good night and god speed.