Letter: 'Times of India' did not copy price war

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The Independent Online
Sir: The publishers of the Times of India (Bennett, Coleman & Co.) would like to make it clear that they did not emulate the Times of London in price cutting ('Newsagents knocked off their bikes in India's own price war', 12 July).

In fact, the first price reduction was implemented by the company several months prior to the price war in London.

The Economic Times, which was offered at an 'invitation price', now sells more than the Financial Times in Britian. This shows that at the top end of the market the question was not one of shifting readership but of generating new readership.

It is only the Delhi edition of the Times of India that is being sold at the reduced price. The daily is published simultaneously in Bombay, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Patna and Bangalore and its nationwide circulation is more than 700,000 copies.

Circulation of the Delhi edition has gone up by 30,000 to 202,000 copies, not to 170,000 as mentioned in your report. Despite the cut in the cover price, there has been no reduction in the newsagents' commission.

Also, the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission is not examining any complaint against the Times of India. As for the law and order problem, the company feels that this is the result of the activities of a cartel formed by its main competitor in Delhi which had tried to disrupt newspaper distribution.

Yours faithfully,

L. K. SHARMA

Europe Correspondent

The Times of India

London, N14

12 July

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