A “win win” Deal- Private Treaties and the Media

This story in The Hoot points out that the newspaper The Times of India did not name the culprit company when a lift crashed killing two construction workers and severely injuring seven. The reason? Clifton D’Rozario’s investigations found that the company involved- Sobha Developers- has a “private treaty” with the Time of India and that is possibly the reason why the ToI did not name the company, unlike other newspapers. It turns out that ToI has entered into a number of such treaties with various mid- size companies where it invests in the equity of the company in return for guaranteed advertising spend in ToI.

In this report, Clifton D’ Rozario unmasks how this “win- win” deal operates, at the trivial expense of reporting the full truth:

On 12th May 2008, the Times of India reported that:

“Lift crash leaves 2 dead, 7 hurt

Two occupants in a lift died and seven others were injured on Saturday after the lift crashed to the lower basement at the construction site of a residential apartment on Bannerghatta Road.”

Then, again on 8th June the Times of India reported that:

“LIFT CRASH

SHRC chief takes officials to task

The State Human Rights Commission has asked a private construction company to ensure complete and fair compensation to families of two workers who dies and seven who were injured in a lift crash in an apartment building under construction on Bannerghatta Road. The accident took place on May 10.…

The accident occurred on May 10 at the construction site of a multi-storeyed super-luxury apartment on Bannerghatta Road.”

Note that the Times of India does not name the company, Sobha Developers in reports unlike all the other English and Kannada newspapers, which explicitly did so.

I began to wonder why. Is it because Sobha Developers contributes revenue to the Times of India in terms of advertising? Or is there something more? And then I stumbled upon www.timesprivatetreaties.com. It talks about Private Treaties and this being an “innovative venture from the Times of India group, India’s largest and most successful media conglomerate…” Apparently, Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd., the publishers of Times of India, has entered into a Private Treaty with Sobha Developers, whereby through this arrangement BCCL picks up law equity stakes in companies, in return receiving long-term advertising and other publicity deals.

Link via email from Girish Mishra

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6 thoughts on “A “win win” Deal- Private Treaties and the Media

  1. Thanks for the link, Madhukar. (It seems that because of the link your comment went to the spam list and I came across it only today.)

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