TIMES GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR VINEET JAIN TOOK UP EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES AT THE GROUP IN 1986 AND HAS BEEN DEEPLY INVOLVED IN SHAPING THE STRATEGIC COURSE OF ACTION EVER SINCE. BEING THE MORE OUTGOING OF THE TWO BROTHERS, HE IS WIDELY ACKNOWLEDGED AS THE FACE OF THE GROUP AND HAS SUCCESSFULLY EXTENDED THE TOI BRAND TO TV AND ONLINE MEDIA. IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERACTION WITH VIRAT BAHRI OF 4Ps B&M, HE SHARES HOW THE GROUP CONSISTENTLY STRIVES TO REINVENT ITSELF AND CHALLENGE EXISTING PARADIGMS AND HOW HE ENVISIONS THE FUTURE.

Since its inception, The Times of India Group has been a path- breaker in the media industry. What is the key to continuously maintaining and building world-class standards and processes in this industry?
The Times has never been scared to challenge conventional wisdom, and to take what the rest of the media industry has called crazy risks – for instance, our idea of invitation pricing, when we reduced the cover price of our newspapers. Truth is, what the outside world often sees as a gamble, is actually the outcome of hundreds of hours of intense top management discussion and debate. Typically, the economics of every decision is thought through to the last detail. We then back them up with systems and processes that we have institutionalized over years, both in terms of people and technology. The key is to create and deliver value, day in and day out – and to give our readers and advertisers MORE than what they actually pay for. For instance, our group has been making huge investments in production capabilities that are comparable with the latest and the best in the world. For us, growth is oxygen, and our biggest fear and threat is complacency. The idea of resting on our laurels is anathema to us. Along with giant strategic leaps, we also strive to make continuous incremental improvements and innovations.

The media industry has gone through a lot of upheaval over the years with changing trends as well as a consistent redefining of the media landscape. How does The Times of India ensure an enduring relevance and connect with its old and new audience across all forms of media?
The secret is to identify what readers want – before even they themselves know they want it – and make it available to them. At Times, it’s been our constant endeavour to anticipate change, to keep our finger on the pulse of society, and to stay ahead of the curve. We think of ourselves as being in the business of creation and innovation. We spend a great deal of our time, energy and thought in reaching out to newer and younger generations of readers. We want to be part of their lives and their aspirations; it’s our mission to help them become successful. Look at India’s demographic: with such an enormous young population, our future lies naturally with the youth of the country.

The Times of India Group has endured and retained a formidable position in the Indian media space over seventeen long decades. What is your vision and aspiration for the group from here on?
The Times of India Group has strategically diversified into various media platforms – print, TV, radio, online and mobile. While each has its own logic and idiom, I believe there is room for greater synergy – so that we can deliver greater value to our readers and advertisers, 24 by 7. Consumers are constantly changing their platform of media consumptions based on the time of day and convenience. We want them to stay in touch with us – and us with them – wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. We want them to consume our content through the day, across the different media platforms.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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