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Saturday, December 10, 2011

MiD DAY closed editions in Delhi and Bengaluru with CHEERS!

Why the face-u, hide-u, hide-u…
Why these Kolaveri Dis
Why the camera-u, click-u, click-u…
Why this Kolaveri Da

Well, if you are only singing this song… seeing the above picture, and thinking nothing great or big, you sure are not a visionary or management level employee, or CEO of a tabloid like MiD DAY!

“Janam Samjha Karo,” as Choli ke pichhe something exists, Burqa ke niche bhi something exists.

And if you could see what exists, you have the foresight and vision, the business acumen and, for sure, a template-MBA degree or diploma to capture Sunny Leone, Poonam Pandey, Rakhi Sawant, Mallika Sherawat and Liz Hurley in a single frame with just a click.

Probably Jagran Prakashan Limited (JPL) had possessed such a business vision under the stewardship of Mr. Manajit Ghoshal, MD & CEO, MiD DAY Infomedia, when the group acquired MiD DAY in May 2010… to bring Inquilab (revolution) through sensational news, raving up the tabloid culture across India.

However, with time, it became evident that MiD DAY could only incur loss thanks to its Delhi and Bengaluru editions despite the tabloid’s best of titillations for ‘producing’ news besides covering the same.

This, as usual, created a situation where finding scapegoats was mandatory to pass the buck on and make them sacrifice, eventually.

For the reason obvious, the management of MiD DAY under the canopy of JPL found the best possible solution, and that was to close the editions in Delhi and Bengaluru on and from December 06, 2011 and thereby compel all its journalists and other employees go jobless in those two cities.

And that too, notwithstanding the fact, as quoted by a MiD DAY insider, “Midday shut down for loss of Rs 2 lakhs by Jagran whose quarterly profit is Rs 30 cr. is this ridiculous or what?”

Funny, no? Yes, it IS!

Actually, the fun just began.

Now, please take a look at the CEO’s internal email, which Mr. Manajit Ghoshal sent to the employees in Delhi and Bengaluru in order to let them know that they were laid off.

Full Transcript of the great man’s great mail –

Dear colleagues,

It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore editions. Tomorrow's issue will be the last issue for both the editions. This has been necessitated by the prolonged losses we had to incur on these editions.

The idea behind starting these editions was to establish these brands in these cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens there. We had begun well and were appreciated for the quality of product we put out. However, in a corporate scenario the books need to be balanced.

Due to the ever increasing competition in the print media space, the funds required for breakeven in these cities kept escalating. Finally, we had to take this call. We will however, continue to maintain a news bureau in Delhi and our sales offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this is that Mumbai Mid-Day now will have the strength to soar to greater heights. By cutting our losses in Delhi and Bangalore editions, we will be able to bolster our circulation in Mumbai.

Apart from the plan to channel these investments, Jagran group (our parent company) will invest a large sum in boosting Mid-Day's circulation in Mumbai. This will give our sales guys across the country to pitch Mumbai Mid-Day to clients and agencies in a new light.

We need to now concentrate on building brand Mid-Day in Mumbai and monetizing Mumbai Mid-Day's large increase in circulation and in this our sales colleagues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune will have to play a significant part.

Gujrati Mid-Day and Inquilab continue to go from strength to strength. We are increasing the circulation of GMD at a brisk pace and will continue to do so. Inquilab has flourished in the north and we now have 14 editions in all and are far ahead of any competition in the Urdu space.

Mid-Day Pune is an extension of Mid-Day Mumbai just as the Pune city is an extension of Mumbai. Mid-DayPune will continue to run at an ever increasing pace and we will be monitoring the Pune media market keenly to spot opportunities to improve the circulation of Midday Pune.

We will continue to invest aggressively in our digital properties as we believe that this is a medium whose time has come.

5th December, 2011 is an important day in the history of Mid-Day. Today, we will have to halt and think. Think about many of our colleagues who will have to move on.

It's a testing time for them as it is for us. Right now it might look dark but I am sure both of us will come out of this with flying colours. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We also need to think about the added responsibilities for all of us who remain in this great organization and who have to carry its legacy forward. Let's begin this phase of our journey with renewed vigour and conviction.

In conclusion, I can only say that all dreams may not fructify but that will only encourage us to try harder and bring us closer, marching forward with a vision which only we can realise. We strive for continuity and absolutes but are reminded time and again that change is the only constant.

In this time of great pain and heavy responsibility, I am sure God will give us the tenacity to walk on-and then to break into a run-and once again soar to live our destiny.


Manajit Ghoshal

When a MD cum CEO of an organization starts a retrenchment email with a ‘heavy heart’ but ends with ‘cheers’, it speaks volumes for the person’s mental stability. And while such a person is at the helm of a business operation, no wonder MiD DAY turned MiD NIGHT in Delhi and Bengaluru where media war has been fierce, always, given the number of quality competitors.

Plus, from positioning and content point of views… trying to draw an analogy or a parallel between MiD DAY Delhi / Bengaluru and Inquilab / Gujrati MiD DAY has not only been weird but also made no branding or marketing sense to say the least.

It was like telling Harbhajan Singh that he was dropped from the team albeit Vidya Balan acted brilliantly in the Dirty Picture!

Keeping sales offices in Delhi, as well as in Bengaluru to bolster the media space selling for the Mumbai edition with an ambition to invest heavily in the digital space to proliferate the brand MiD DAY… so as to leverage the maximum, is yet another jive that only ridicules the concept of branding and marketing.

For a simple reason, to exploit the digital space, precisely the web and mobile, distance hardly matters. So why keep sales offices in Delhi and Bengaluru where you can’t keep the journalists and other staffs?!

Apart from that, it was also bizarre the way the management at MiD DAY literally enforced resignation on the employees in Delhi and Bengaluru, and used bouncers to drive the employees out of the office premise who were reluctant to leave.

See the termination – NOT RESIGNATION – letter below, as drafted by the management.  

There was no mention of any statutory compensations but a mere assertion of dues.

If some eyebrows were raised to inquire into ‘why compensation’, answering to that, because no prior intimation or notice was circulated to any of the employees in Delhi and Bengaluru before this sudden retrenchment.

Whereas, giving at least one month’s prior notice to lay off an employee is an absolute must, unless and until the employee has committed any criminal offense, or serving a probationary period. And, even if he has committed a crime, it needs to be proven first either by an internal committee and then at court.

In this context, the following facebook wall posts of Ms. Promita Mukherjee, Feature Editor, MiD DAY, Delhi should be sufficient for you to understand the malpractice, based on which, the management at MiD DAY offered pink slips and insulted its employees –

“Sachin Kalbag's msg to me: Note, he still hasn't addressed the team:

Promita, I am sending this message in private. We are trying our best get those Delhi colleagues who have not been retained for the Delhi bureau absorbed in Jagran Prakashan's publications such as City Plus, iNext, Jagran Digital and Jagran itself. I understand your anger, and I understand your pain. I would also request you to call me directly in case you need ANY clarification. You may have my number, but in any case it is +919820199551.



“For those who came in late, this is not against the shutting down of MiD DAY delhi shutting down or abt usz getting sacked. It is abt the way we were all dismissed thru an insensitive email. The editor Deep Halder, who is entitled to the highest compensation felt it is not abt money, it is abt our dignity. Neither the CEO, nor the executive editor Sachin Kalbag met us or addressed us over a video conference. We were okay with that also. But today, they were forcing us to sign an illegal document saying we are voluntarily resigning. The truth is, the edition is closing, we are not leaving on our own”

It’s also heard that the management at MiD DAY showed red eyes and tried to bully the employees in Delhi to accept the fabricated resignation, and prior to that the employees were duped to sign on an illegal agreement, which said that the employees were willing to not accept the Majithia Wage Board or Commission’s report / suggestions.

See this link and you will understand why no employee is a fool to refuse extra or more wages as per the Board or Commission's suggestion! That means MiD DAY has somewhat lost its way even on the legal front in line with Majithia.

Finally, if Promita’s tweet, “#MidDay, real intentions revealed. Shutdowns part of CEO's plan to devalue group so that he can buy it himself, sources confirm” is to be taken into serious consideration, it clears everything why MiD DAY needed to close down editions in Delhi and Bengaluru in such a manner, with ‘Cheers’, of course!

1 comment:

shivani said...

Sir, I am a research student from Hyderabad. I was wondering if there are any other reasons as to why mid-day , Bangalore shut down. PLease email me at It's quite urgent.