Today’s been interesting.
I open the newspapers, go to the Economic Times first; it’s the budget.
Quickly glance at the headlines, stop and stare at the unusual visual on the front page – it’s a ‘postcard’ designed by Ogilvy.
(Caption from the Economic Times: The battery ran out of the socialist clock in 1991. Two decades on, it surely is an exciting time for India and its hard-driving and globally expanding entrepreneurs. Gone are the hammer and sickle and even the last vestiges of a system of governance that dulled the Indian spirit and dimmed the hopes of millions. Now, in 2011, the Rupee rules, a strong symbol of a new and muscular India)
I forget the rest of the headlines; I turn page after page to look for more postcards. There are, indeed, more of them.
That’s an interesting change from the budget day’s ET’s in the recent past; Bollywood, Hollywood and cricket have dominated the ‘themes’ in the big day editions of ET in the past few years. Not just on budget day; the agency reckoner has seen this, too. Railway budgets and the economic survey as well.
And I go through the paper once again, spending much more time than I would on the paper (I’ve never bought or sold a share in my life). It’s been a few days now; the newspaper is looking more and more serious than it has done in the last few years. New fonts, new design templates.
And new treatment of the content. The headlines, too, have become more business-like. Gone is the overuse of Hinglish.
What’s with ET?
Even on the dotcom, www.economictimes.indiatimes.com, we see changes. While the newspaper is decidedly pink, the dotcom version is shaded a light blue-grey; again, more businesslike.
And what is the need for it, I wonder…
Perhaps because they no longer compete with just other Indian pink papers…
Perhaps their competition, in this age of digital and at a point when 3G is imminent and tablets will proliferate, tomorrow, could be any financial daily from anywhere in the world, accessible by all Indians first thing in the morning, with India focus and an India home page.
I’m going to watch this space; if ET is preparing for the war in the skies, there will be one – and I’ll get myself a ringside view.
And on another front, days like the budget are great days for media products to prove that they're better than their peers. All have the same news and similar access to experts. Yesterday, our busy Finance Minister had time for interviews with Arnab Goswami on Times Now, Dr. Prannoy Roy + TN Ninan on NDTV and Raghav Bahl on CNBC and CNNIBN (I didn't watch ET Now as my Tata Sky doesn't carry it).
Bahl won hands down. If you get a chance to see it (I"m sure there'll be a repeat), do so. It's worth the trouble.