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COVID-19 Impact: Here’s The Bloodbath In Media So Far

Bhubaneswar: India’s media industry has been hit hard by the unparalleled economic crisis brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic. Dwindling advertising revenues and circulation of print copies have led major media houses to shut or scale down operations that were non profitable further restructuring the organization. A major impact of this was seen on print publications.

Publications Shutting Down or Discontinued:

  • The Economic Times Hindi and Sandhya Times have stopped publishing their Delhi editions
  • Maharashtra Times has shut down its three editions – Kolhapur, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar
  • TV Today Network announced ceasing operations and transmission of Delhi Aaj Tak with effect from 30 June 2020. The group may also close down all its niche products including Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Mail Today
  • Sakal Media Group has ceased operations for Sakal Times and Gomantak Times. The closure impacts 45 editorial staff and 13 journalists respectively. Furthermore, Sakal (Marathi) has closed the Jalgaon, Solapur, Nanded, and Akola editions
  • Dainik Bhaskar temporarily closed their 4 pages pullout. Gurugram and Faridabad news has been merged in Delhi edition
  • Amar Ujala’s Gurgaon and Faridabad editions have been merged
  • The Telegraph is shutting down its Jamshedpur, Ranchi, and Guwahati editions from 1st June 2020. Anand Bazar Patrika (ABP) Group, which also owns the Telegraph and Fortune India sent an internal email announcing vacating their rental offices in Delhi , Bengaluru , Noida , Chennai and Hyderabad
  • Network 18 has announced to shut down its lifestyle channel FYI TV18 from 8th July. This channel is a joint venture of A+E network and TV 18 Group, launched in 2016
  • Firstpost has shut its business desk.
  • Forbes India suspended print operations beginning issue dated 27 March
  • Bloomberg-Quint announced shutting down of its television division. The move leads to 100 people losing jobs.
  • Nai Duniya owned by Dainik Jagran suspended print operations
  • Times of India has shut all editions in Kerala except for TRV and Kochi
  • The New Indian Express has started to vacate all offices across eight bureaus in Kerala
  • Business-Standard.com has discontinued Auto Publishing of news from various wire agencies. They may not re-start it in the future
  • Mint Lounge has discontinued a couple of columns and senior journalist like Priya Ramani and Natasha Badhwar have been asked to leave
  • ABP Group shut down its Infocomm department and is most likely to close the iconic Bengali magazines – Sananda and Desh. Henceforth, only digital copies will be available. Also they have shut all offices other than Kolkata. A large number have been sacked and the rest are on work from home.
  • Star of Mysore suspended print operations on 12 April 2020
  • Outlook suspended print operations on 30 March 2020
  • Hamara Mahanagar shut down operations on 18 March citing poor business viability
  • Better Interiors magazine of Network 18 group has been shut.

Job Losses:

  • Hindustan Times has recently asked its 150 staff, around 27 percent of the total staff, to resign. Managing Editor Soumya Bhagacharya, other Senior Editors such as Poonam Saxena, Manjula Narayan, Rezaul Laskar, Padma Rao, and Senior Assistant Editor, Ananya Ghosh were asked to resign. Patna and Pune editions will also close down
  • Hindustan, a Hindi national daily from HT Media, has laid-off more than 180 employees across the country.
  • The Times of India in Kerala on 20 May 2020 laid-off seven reporters (three in Thiruvananthapuram, two in Kozhikode and one each in Malappuram and Kannur respectively) and three desk editors.
  • ABP Digital laid-off an unconfirmed number of journalists on 26 May 2020
  • The Economic Times cut jobs in Kochi, Chandigarh, and Kolkata
  • Vikatan Group has laid off 172 employees in Chennai on the 21st of May. It is unclear how many journalists are affected by this step
  • Mint has discontinued their 8 year-long association with Sundeep Khanna, Columnist with the publication who covered Business & Economy, HT Education, and previously was the Executive Editor with Mint
  • Rajasthan Patrika’s layoff list is ready with approximately 500 employees. They may announce it soon
  • Pratim Bose, Deputy Editor of Hindu Business Line, quit recently, breaking his 25 year old association with the Hindu group
  • Pudhari, Pune & Alpa Mahanagar, Mumbai have announced layoffs
  • Eenadu bid goodbye to 1000 employees from various departments, including Journalists, graphic designers sales and marketing professionals
  • On 18 June, The Hindu laid off an unknown number of journalists across editions, bureaus and verticals. So far, have confirmed loss of jobs about 9 journalists in Karnataka and 20 journalists in Mumbai. Journalists were threatened to resign or risk being terminated, which they were told will look bad on their CVs,
  • On 22 June, The Hindu formally asked its employees in the Mumbai edition to tender their resignations. The move came the same day the Press Council of India issued a notice to the editor of The Hindu for threatening to lay off journalists and a day after the employees of the Mumbai edition wrote to the company’s board seeking clarification on their employment status.
  • The New Indian Express will vacate rented offices across eight bureaus in Kerala beginning 31 May 2020
  • Three journalists managing Times Life, a Sunday supplement were laid off on 13 April
  • News Nation laid off its English digital team of 15 journalists on 12 April.
  • Sakal Group asked 15 journalists to tender their resignation on 31 March

Salary-cuts, Furlough & Work without pay:

  • Fortune India sent their 20 people strong editorial teams on a three month leave without pay on 28th April. The decision was communicated in an internal e-mail. The e-mail came with a consent form that the employees were expected to sign
  • The Indian Express has asked its employees to take a “temporary salary cut” after the nationwide lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic affected the paper’s circulation and sales.
  • Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), which owns Times of India, Economic Times, Mirror, Nav Bharat Times, Maharashtra Times, Vijay Karnataka, etc., announced deferring of increments, restructuring of salary and salary cuts on 23 April 2020
  • The142-year-old Hindu Group is reported to have restructured its team in Mumbai by reducing headcounts after a salary cuts up to 25% in May. The Hindu had stopped printing in Mumbai during the lockdown, resuming only on June 15. However, the Mumbai bureau’s journalists still extensively covered the Covid-19 outbreak in the city, the worst-hit in India, for the e-paper and website
  • NDTV announced a salary cut of between 10 and 40 %, based on income slabs, for all employees earning more than INR 50,000 a month. The salary cut is effective April 1 for a period of three months
  • The Quint has sent an estimate of 50% employees on a ‘furlough’
  • The Caravan magazine announced salary cuts for the next four months
  • Network 18 announces 10% pay cut, top leadership to take a bigger cut
  • Sakal and Lokmat, Pune have also announced pay-cut
  • Tribune India announced pay cuts on 2 May in an internal circular
  • Dainik Bhaskar restructured the salaries of nearly 1,000 employees (12% of the workforce), as reported by Reuters on 16 April 2020
  • Patrika cut salaries on 7 April
  • Amar Ujala cut salaries on 7 April for everyone above the position of chief sub editor.
  • India Ahead News announced salary cuts on 4 April 2020.
  • The Business Standard sent out an internal email on salary cu

Other Updates:

  • The Hindu Business Line has re-opened bureaus in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad; its e-paper are now available with an offer of free e-paper for 21 days
  • The Hindu is offering a 15-day free trial of its e-paper
  • The Times Group pay-walled e-paper of all its English titles; The Times of India, The Economic Times and Mirror
  • IANS news wire announced that it will only consider press releases forwarded by the Editor-in-Chief Sandeep Bamzai, no other press releases will be considered according to the new rule
  • Outlook Group is gearing up to resume the print editions of five magazines from July 1 after they were discontinued from April for three months during the lockdown. Outlook Group publishes weekly magazines Outlook English and Hindi, fortnightly magazine Outlook Business and monthly magazines Outlook Money and Outlook Traveller
  • Outlook Business’ online edition is now paid
  • IE and New Indian Express have stopped free access to e-paper from June 1
  • Meri Saheli, Majhi Saheli, Lokprabha, and Chithralekha magazines are available in e-format
  • Magzter has stopped providing access to Mint, The Hindu, Hindu Business Line and Outlook Business
  • Lifestyle supplements and fashion-related content has reduced with few stories on trends/fashion/ accessories – ET Panache is a page in ET; Times Life is a page in Times of India.
  • The Quint listed itself in the Bombay Stock Exchange on 6 May 2020 via a reverse takeover. The promoters sold the company to a listed company they own via a slump sale, at an enterprise value of INR 30.58 crore, and an equity value of INR 12.62 crore.
  • The Indian Newspaper Society wrote a second letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting demanding a two year tax holiday, increase official advertisement rates and budget spending on the sector on 25 April.
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