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Media: Stop Press!

Demonetisation has had a devastating impact on the media industry. It’s abuzz with news of large scale restructuring and massive job cuts

Photo Credit : AP

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Demonetisation has had a devastating impact on the media industry. It’s abuzz with news of large scale restructuring and massive job cuts.

HT Media, one of the largest media groups in India, has closed down many editions, including Kolkata, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Bhopal, Indore and Ranchi, and three bureaus — sports and business bureau of HT and Mint’s political bureau.

Plus, there has been a major reshuffle. HT’s sister concern Mint will now report for the business bureau of HT and HT for the political pages of Mint.

That’s not all. It is also planning to hand out pink slips in its Mumbai office soon.

Other media giants such as Bennett Coleman and Company (BCCL), ABP, and Dainik Bhaskar (DB) are also taking harsh steps to control the damage caused by demonetisation.

Times of India has reported a loss of around Rs 100 crore of ad revenues in the last 50 days. It predicts another 20 per cent ad revenue loss till April this year.

Earlier in December, Times Group released a circular to employees asking to take collective steps and optimise spending. The circular said, “The business environment since the last one month has adversely impacted all businesses, particularly English broadcast media. This has resulted in lower revenues and profitability for most of the organisation. Considering this, we all need to work with a much-focused approach to ensure we are less impacted in this adverse situation.”

BCCL has put a hold on hiring until March. “There is a hiring freeze, but no news of layoff at the moment,” says a senior resource in the company.

ABP group in Kolkata is also undergoing a massive restructuring exercise. Around 40 per cent of the total ABP employees are facing the axe. This is across all group publications, including Anandbazar Patrika and The Telegraph.

According to a source close to the development, “The features team of The Telegraph has been asked to leave; supplements such as The Telegraph Platinum magazine and Graphiti have been closed down.”

Apparently, ABP has offered a certain deal to its employees under the wage board: those to resign and complete formalities by 15 January 2017 will get basic pay, at the present rate, till the time of their retirement.

DB Corp, one of the major Hindi newspapers with pan India presence, released a circular last month putting a stop on fresh recruitments. The group is likely to cut 10 per cent of its resources around the country in the coming three months.

States such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu too have been impacted with the demonetisation move. A senior manager at a leading daily says, “Companies have cut down their advertising budgets and real estate is on a wait and watch mode. In some of the leading newspapers, increment has been rolled back after a month citing demonetisation.”

Tamil daily Dinamalar has stopped hiring new employees and informed the current workforce that there will be no hike in salary this year citing reasons such as demonetisation and cyclone Vardah. The promotion and marketing budget of the newspaper has also been reduced.


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