What do Indian newspapers like Times of India, Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, Business Standard, Economic Times, India West, Udayavani, IBNLive, NDTV and Network18 (last three are TV channels) have in common.
Over the last few months, all these media publications have put out iPad versions of their content.
We love our iPad and are addicted to it.
From reading books to checking movie showtimes to playing chess to catching up on the news to watching movies to making Skype video calls and more, we rely on our iPad 2.
The addition of Indian content makes the iPad even more dear to us.
Wild Success in U.S.
In the U.S., the iPad has been a wildly successful product.
Most consumers who have purchased it love it and those who have not yearn for it.
The iPad has crushed Samsung, RIM/Blackberry, Asus, Acer and almost every other tablet in the U.S. (except the newly launched $199 Kindle Fire).
But based on what we hear from visiting friends, the iPad still has not taken deep roots in India.
Not surprising, given its high price tag (the entry-level 16GB version of the iPad 2 starts at $499).
Further, unlike a movie or software app the thieving Indian bastards cannot pirate an iPad. 😉
So presumably those Indian publications that have put out iPad versions are targeting NRIs like us or just riding the latest technology fad.
Whatever be the motivation, we’re happy.
By the way, the major iPad holdout is the Chennai newspaper The Hindu.
A stodgy publication that’s said to be losing ground to Times of India even in its Chennai bastion, the Hindu seems to be behind the curve when it comes to the web or iPad. Maybe if Hindu Editor N.Ram can tear himself away from his intense love affair with Wikileaks founder Assange he’ll find time to put out an iPad app. 😉
Shame, All Free
One of the distressing aspects of every Indian newspaper on the iPad is that they’re all free.
And that’s a shame, a mighty shame.
Because good content costs money to produce.
To give away for free stuff that takes a lot of time and costs mucho money to put together is nonsense.
The hoi polloi don’t understand that or plain refuse to take note of that fact in their unrestrained clamor for free.
Of all the cheapskates in the world, Indians must be the cheapest. These mothafuckas want everything free.
If it’s not free, they steal with impunity.
But if Indian newspapers not only continue to give their content for free on the web but also put free iPad and iPhone versions as well then soon they’ll find themselves in the same perilous situation as American newspapers.
A lot of American newspapers are hemorrhaging badly because the number of people who buy them at newsstands or subscribe to them has fallen steeply since they’re all available free on the Internet.
The obsession with getting content free on the web has grown to the extent that we’ve lately read even American writers boasting of getting all their news content for free.
Obviously, stupidity and greed cuts across borders.
Two of the leading newspapers in the U.S., The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, charge for their iPad versions.
Hopefully, more American and Indian publications will follow their lead.
Suggestion for Indian Media Firms
Indian newspapers must form some kind of a collective to monetize the content they spend a lot of time and money creating.
As a start, they can charge a modest monthly subscription fee of $10 to let readers access all the publications on the iPad.
A single monthly fee for the diaspora to read multiple Indian publications sounds like a good idea to us.
We know $10 a month is not a big sum. But it’s at least a beginning to wean readers from the free nonsense and reliance on the low-paying obtrusive ads.
The Indian media leader is the Times of India group.
So upon them lies the onus to lead the initiative to form an entity that’ll charge consumers a fee for access to their Indian content on the iPad and eventually extend the fee-based model to the web as well.
SI’s Favorite – Pssst, if you ask us for our favorite Indian publication on the iPad it’s without doubt the Times of India. It just can’t be beat for breadth of coverage as well as ease of use.
“Of all the cheapskates in the world, Indians must be the cheapest. These mothafuckas want everything free.”
So true! looong ago a fellow desi bought a rice cooker for use during a 2 week business visit. He promptly returned it on his return from the trip.
Your fellow desi is an amateur cheapo.
We have regular SI readers returning lawnmowers to Costco after 3-4 years of use! They can teach your desi a lot of tricks.
No kidding. 😉
Can’t disclose their identities but one clue – they’re Tamil (of course).
Ho Ho Ho…. I have known of incidents where fellas got a video camcorder for a trip (I believe it was a wedding in India) and returned it after the trip, after pulling down the shot footage.
Anyway, I recently found out about the storm in ‘The Hindu’ management, looks like the once venerable daily might be on its last legs. Check out http://savethehindu.blogspot.com/ for more fireworks.
1. We know of desis here who used to buy printers and return it after a week or so. You just can’t beat these guys. Those were the days of Computer City, CompUSA etc.
But for sheer chutzpah you can’t beat the person returning the lawnmower to Costco after a few years of use. Those days, Costco had a very liberal return policy.
2. Will the Hindu even exist a decade from now?
Doubtfool, given the problems within and outside (an extremely aggressive rival in Times of India).
Many years back, we met one of the key family members (a cousin of N.Ram and who is also closely involved in the business) and came back less than impressed.
I always felt that articles in Hindu were more well researched and elaborate than the Times of India or any other Indian news paper but that audience is fast dwindling and those who remain have switched over to 24 hour News Channels and the Internet.
Also, the people of India (and maybe throughout the world) are suckers for “Breaking News” and Gossip and Toilet Paper of India oops… Times of India delivers that without any shame or regret.
Hindu has simply not kept up to the time. They have hardly diversified or innovated over the past 25 years that I can think of. While, I always believe (a big assumption) that folks @ The Hindu have a higher degree of Journalistics Ethics and their content is far superior, their laid back approach and inability to keep up with the competition and time will ultimately cost them their existence.
1. Times of India is to some extent like Murdoch’s papers.
They know the pulse of the people, which means in plain English – Recognizing that most people like to read Trashy Stuff much as they pretend turn up their nose at such content.
But for geographical breadth of coverage, it’s hard to equal TOI.
2. You write: I always believe (a big assumption) that folks @ The Hindu have a higher degree of Journalistics Ethics
NOT TRUE. NOT TRUE. NOT TRUE.
Some really Rotten Apples…..Some hilarious incidents…..Some day, we’ll elaborate.
You are right as far as the ‘big assumption’ part of your point. 😉
There goes that assumption 🙂
I will look forward to the day you will elaborate. 😉
The world is more screwed up than we imagine or should we say assume. 😉
Of all the cheapskates in the world, Indians must be the cheapest.
If you (I am guessing that one half of SI is a bit out-of-whack.. take rest!) stand by that statement, you must be ….
What analysis have you done about the other cheapskates – I am thinking that the Chinese probably will take the cake.. (but I guess I am also being blindly racist like you).
As a start, they can charge a modest monthly subscription fee of $10
haha.. SI must surely be having a lot of time in its hands to be coming up with these wild suggestions..
Regarding Hindu, have you read Malathi Rangarajan’s reviews recently.. I rarely go there, but I read one recently – it was terrible.. I used to think that her reviews were great, 15 years ago, but not sure if it my outlook that has changed, or if it is the senility that got her (as it has got some other people 😉 )..
1. SI Wrote: As a start, [newspapers] can charge a modest monthly subscription fee of $10
You write: SI must surely be having a lot of time in its hands to be coming up with these wild suggestions..
SI Responds: Alas, wisdom is a blessing bestowed upon only a rare few by the Gods.
Have you ever given thought to how newspapers, be it the NYT, WSJ or Times of India, will pay their staff, for their servers and the manifold expenses involved in generating content every day if every cheap mothafucka in the world insists on it being free, stops buying the print version and reads it online.
Now, don’t tell us Online Ads will pay for it because that would be laughably ridiculous. It hasn’t so far and won’t ever.
The collapse of the mainstream publishing business will have debilitating consequences for our democracy beyond the ken of cheapskate minds. Far be it for us to educate these cheap mothafuckas, it would all be water off a duck’s back in any case.
Wild suggestions, eh?
No, Prudent Counsel. But then since the days of Caesar (Remember the soothsayer’s Beware the Ides of March warning to Caesar got the brushoff as a mad man’s rant), sage counsel has mostly been disdained as, to borrow your fanciful expression, “wild suggestions.”
2. You write: What analysis have you done about the other cheapskates
The research method is called Participant Observation in Anthropology.
3. but I guess I am also being blindly racist like you.
Since when have Indians not been racist.
More proof that breathing the noxious Cooum air can have frightful consequences!
I am sure SI has kept an eye on the great stand up comedies aka republican debates. Any impressions on who would be the final nominee? I know it is an understatement to say that SI despises the republican party but who do you think is the most competent / credible republican candidate?
1. You write: but who do you think is the most competent / credible republican candidate?
It’s like asking us to chose between Hitler and Stalin.
Between Romney and Gingrich (others are irrelevant), there’s no choice.
Both are sick SOBs.
We’d rate Romney as the lesser evil. After all, he has the MA Health Care legislation to his credit, the one Obama subsequently used as a blueprint for his healthcare bill.
2. You write: Any impressions on who would be the final nominee?
Hard to say but the wise money is betting that the nomination is Romney’s to lose.