Idea and Radia..

A. Telecom Service providers

  1. Is new logo of Airtel is aimed at re-positioning the brand in wake of launch of 3G services in India? Was it really required when its not very different from a combo of Videocon's and Vodafone's except catchy tune that is a ring tone for many of us? A better spend of shareholders' money would have been to extend a better price on 3G services. A majority of Indians may not know what 3G is except a crude reference to 2G scam. Or is it a deliberate attempt to keep it clear of price war this time in wake of falling ARPU (Average Revenue Per User)? TRAI are you there?
  2. Idea till a few years back was not as aggressive as Airtel, Vodafone or Reliance but since then has successfully re-positioned itself uniquely from others. Its campaign 'an idea can change your life' is far more commonsensical and relates easily to desi theme of India. 'Zu Zu' in my personal opinion falls far behind.
  3. Idea has let mobile phone usage mature in India and now carefully eating into market share of others. Idea was never in race for adding more subscribers. Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance tried fighting out to be leaders earlier with Reliance dropping-off some three years back. Today, while Vodafone and Airtel and planning to go aggressive for 3G services, Idea is running a campaign promoting 'Mobile No portability'. A smart move to win back more subscribers today at a much lesser cost. A potential business case study for management students on how despite being a laggard one can be a winner. GOOD IDEA!

B. Is Journalism in India biased?

  1. While a majority of Indians are surprised at journalism's role in wake of Radia tape leaks, for me its an accidental disclosure of a well kept secret till date.
  2. Some of the major media houses in India have been running private equity division whereby any corporate can agree to  part with a small equity stake in company in return for a campaign being run by the media house to promote your products/services. Its a win-win situation for these media houses. Money paid out to buy equity stake is received back instantaneously towards advertising and marketing. Capital gains from sale of equity stake in 3-5 years time is also not ruled out.
  3. Why do we not scrutinize the activities of PR companies in India as well? They are indirectly doing what Radia would have done. Imagine this- PR representatives reaching out to media houses, inviting the editors and writers to an evening and as human bias sets within a few, coupled with motivation (in kind), we end-up reading/hearing about some of these companies. Though not all clients using PR are bad or false but we can of course recall some instances in past where reality was quite different from what was read or heard.
  4. Media writing about this has just forgotten a reference to Peepli Live- a recent movie produced by Aamir Khan. Public has a short memory and a herd mentality.