Spirituality for the masses, now wrapped in print

In India, the spiritual route has always been an easy way to make money. Now, the Times Group wants to cash in on this trend by launching a weekly newspaper based on ‘The Speaking Tree’, a spiritual column that is published in the inside pages of the Times of India (TOI).

According to sources, Narayani Ganesh, a senior editor at TOI, will be editing the newspaper. Moneylife contacted the management of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, the publishers of TOI, but they were not willing to comment on this development.

Spirituality is a booming business in India. The Times Group won’t be starved for content as there are enough spiritual and religious entities spread across the country which lean on the media for publicity.

 “The Speaking Tree is for a niche market and is written by variety of writers. Since it is written by different writers, some writings are interesting and some are boring. It (the quality) totally depends on who writes it. By and large, people tend to skip the column because it is not very well written. They (TOI) need to work on the writing style to reach the masses,” said Prahlad Kakkar, a renowned advertising guru.

Sources say that the TOI Crest edition, which was recently launched by the company, has not taken off. However, supplements which are clubbed along with TOI like Bombay Times or motoring magazine Zigwheels are doing good business, as they are propped up by expensive advertorials.  

Crest is now given away free at most Crossword outlets. This means that they (the Times Group) will eventually give it away free of cost as a weekend supplement (to TOI),” said PK Ravindranath, a senior journalist. “I read three issues of Crest very carefully and found that it is as good or as bad as TOI itself. It has shallow content and mostly paid advertorials,” he added.

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COMMENTS

Shibaji Dash

8 years ago

If they combine Speaking Tree with ' Cosmic Uplink' of the Eco Times it will make great business sense. Indians excepting those BPLs at the bottom of the pyramid are highly stressed/depressed etc to lap up anything from the venerable Ramdev's massive ayurvedic concoctions to any tablet for tranquility against the irritable bowel syndrome. Only thing missing from the market is a spiritual mag to read in the car while travelling or to take mind off at home or hotel.

ICICI Venture Fund to invest $250 million-$300 million in realty

ICICI Venture Fund Management Co Ltd (IVFMC), the investment unit of ICICI Bank Ltd, is planning to invest $250 million-$300 million over the next three years in realty, especially in the residential segment in India. At present, the company does not plan to invest in the commercial segment.

“We will be investing about $250-$300 million over the next three years, mainly in residential properties. I expect, by that time, the general market will also show signs of recovery. We will be soon raising fresh capital,” said Sanjeev Dasgupta, president for real estate, IVFMC.
 
He said, “The company plans to invest in new residential projects, even in projects which are (only) 30% complete. Developers do not have capacity to raise capital. Those projects are available today at attractive valuations.”
 
The fall in home loan rates is also a factor which is attracting investors. The venture fund is evaluating the market; it is not in a hurry to invest. “Investors are doing greater degree of diligence because a lot of things have gone wrong. They took a view on investment which involved a lot of risk and they thought they would manage it but they could not,” said Mr Dasgupta.
 
The company feels that the residential segment will see another round of small correction over the next six months as developers have increased prices at a rapid rate. “After the increase in prices, volume sales have dropped by 15%. Sales being currently witnessed are being driven by end-users and not speculative investors, contrary to what was witnessed during the boom,” said Mr Dasgupta.
“Till the first half of 2010, we are going to see few volume deals happening. We will see some degree of improvement from Q3 FY10 which again depends on many factors. As we are hearing some positive news on the economic front, we will see good growth in the real-estate segment,” he added.
 
The company is not thinking of investing in the commercial segment as most of the investors find that exiting from the asset is complicated and driven by many factors beyond their control. However, the residential segment has self-liquidating assets, so it is easier to exit and also get good returns.
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COMMENTS

Indrajeet roy

9 years ago

I need to speak or write to Mr. Sanjeev Dasgupta. Please share his mail and other contact details

Industry to maintain double digit growth, says Montek

Attributing the double digit industrial growth rate to stimulus packages, the Planning Commission on Friday said that the growth momentum would be maintained in the coming months, reports PTI. 

"To get a growth rate well above 10% is not just a base effect. There is an element growth that is taking place, which I hope will be sustained," Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters.
 
According to data released earlier in the day, industrial production grew by a robust 10.3% in October against a paltry 0.1% in the same month a year ago, powered by manufacturing, particularly consumer durables.
 
Pointing out that the government’s efforts were yielding results, Mr Ahluwalia said, "We have been saying consistently that the stimulus is taking effect and the recovery process is therefore gaining ground. Our forecast about improvement in economic growth is accurate and we would be able to maintain this momentum in coming months."
 
The Planning Commission has projected a growth rate of 6.5% for the current financial year. The Commission, however, may revise its growth projections in view of the high growth rate of 7.9% recorded during the second quarter of 2009-10.
 
The strong industrial production data came days after a better-than-expected economic growth of 7.9% in the second quarter of this fiscal, reflecting that the economy would sustain the recovery provided that agriculture does not slip too much.
 
For the first seven months of this fiscal, industry expanded by 7.1% against 4.3% a year ago.
 
Manufacturing, which has almost 80% weight in the Index of Industrial Production, grew by 11.1% against (-)0.6% a year ago, when the industry faced the full impact of the global financial crisis after the collapse of US financial services icon Lehman Brothers.
 
Within manufacturing, consumer durables production expanded by 21% in October against (-)1.6% a year ago. Mining production grew by 8.2% in the month against 3.2% and electricity generation expanded by 4.7% compared to 4.4%.
 
Industrial growth for September was revised to 9.6% from the provisional estimate of 9.1%.
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