Spirituality for the masses, now wrapped in print
Pallabika Ganguly 22 December 2009

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.

Shibaji Dash
1 decade 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.
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