Times of the times

The next time you pick up “The Times of India,” do bear in mind that some of the miscellaneous people featured in the columns – management gurus, upcoming singers and models, starlets and others – may have paid to appear in the paper. “If you are a Bipasha Basu or an Elton John, I don’t charge you,” a Medianet space seller is said to have told the head of a Delhi-based public relations agency recently. “But otherwise there is a price for the column,” he is supposed to have added.

According to industry estimates, for Straight Answers (an interview carried in the newspaper’s city supplement), the cost per column centimetre in Mumbai is Rs 3,465.

That’s not all. According to an internal Times group note of last November, a copy of which Ice World has, the front page picture in the city supplement is worth several thousand rupees – up to Rs 90,000. For a front page window in “Bombay Times,” the cost per column centimetre varies between Rs 3,300 and Rs 4,620, depending on the number of inserts (read: stories) in the paper.

While this may be cheaper than “The Times of India’s” advertising rate in Mumbai which averages around Rs 6,000 per column centimetre, it is higher than the paper’s ad space rate in Delhi (around Rs 3,300 per column centimetre).