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Who owns Aaj Tak?

No, the Birlas don't own it. Yet.

November 26, 2016


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The India Today group owns Aaj Tak and the  India Today news channel (formerly Headlines Today). It also publishes the Indian editions of the Reader’s Digest, Cosmopolitan, as well as the long-running periodical India Today and Business Today.

The history of the group has interesting anecdotes.

Vidya Vilas Purie was one of those who migrated during Partition, and travelled from Lahore to Delhi. He started a printing press, Thomson Press (which is still a part of the group):

He became a multi-millionaire. He decided to buy himself a Rolls Royce which was, and is, the ultimate status symbol of success. He went to London to get one. The salesman of the showroom snubbed him and told him he could not afford it and not to waste his time. He bought one, brought it to Delhi. At that time only descendants of erstwhile princely families drove in chauffeurs-driven Rolls Royces. Puri was the only commoner driving one on Delhi roads.

In 1975, with daughter Madhu Trehan and son Aroon Purie, they began publishing the fortnightly India Today news magazine. Mr. Aroon Purie is now in the process of handing over the baton to the younger generation; namely, his son Ankoor Purie as well as his daughter Koel Purie Rinchet. Madhu Trehan owns  newslaundry.com.

The holding company here is Living Media, based out of Connaught Circus, Delhi.

The top shareholders are World Media Pvt. Ltd (55.3%), IGH Holdings Pvt. Ltd (27.5%), All India Investment Corporation Pvt. Ltd (10.34%). The known to be owners, Arun Purie and Ankoor Purie own 3.61% and 2.17% respectively, as of September 2016. [Source: JBS]

The shareholding details of the two firms, World Media Pvt. Ltd as well as All India Investment Corporation Pvt. Ltd are missing from the public domain. The third, however, has been a topic of much discussion.

IGH Holdings Pvt. Ltd

As of September 2015, the company was owned completely by Essel Mining and Industries  Ltd (100%). This itself is part of the Aditya Birla Group with interests in mining . Though there has been talk of an exit, none of it has materialized.

Setting this aside, Living Media also owns 56.92% in the listed entity, TV Today Network Ltd. This looks after all the TV channels in the portfolio, namely, Aaj Tak, Tez, the likes (Thomson Press looks after the licensed magazines). This company further owns 100% in TV Today Network (Business) Limited. Aroon Purie owns 0.49% in TV Today Network Ltd. He took home a pay packet of Rs. 6,70,84,720 ; his daughter, Ms. Koel Purie got Rs. 93,52,372, while the CEO himself, Mr Ashish Kumar Bagga was paid Rs. 1,90,47,892.

Profit wise, the company made a profit of Rs.81,03,27,552, up from Rs. 61,31,80,451 in the FY13-14. [Source: TV Today Annual Report 14-15]

Kumar Roy has done some incisive reporting on the group and its affairs. Definitely recommended.

Parting shots:

  • India TV is owned by Independent News Service Ltd. However, there seems to be literally no information about it on the public domain.
  • Newslaundry.com has made some very informative infographics on almost every media company in the nation, with owners and available political links attached.
  • Can we have an easily available disclaimer about each news channel/ newspaper’s ownership? Maybe easily accessible on their websites?
  • Yes, it is time to set up a new broadcasting regulator. The Press Council Of India and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority haven’t stemmed the rot. Nor has the Ministry of I & B. About time we get an impartial and apolitical body for this purpose.

 

 


About the author: Hitesh Shetty
Dreams of writing a bestseller and changing the world. When awake, tries to figure out how to do both.

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