Aajkaal’s promoters buy The Millennium Post

Acquisition of Kolkata and Delhi daily in English

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Millennium
Both The Millennium Post and Aajkaal are said to be close to the TMC government in West Bengal

The Millennium Post, a New Delhi-headquartered English language daily newspaper with editions in Kolkata and New Delhi, has been acquired by the Techno India Group. The Kolkata-based TIG owns Aajkaal Publisher, which produces the widely-read Bengali daily Aajkaal.

The Techno India Group’s managing director Satyam Roychowdhury, who is also chairman of Aajkaal Publishers, tweeted this information on 10 October 2022. “Techno India Group just added another feather to its cap through the acquisition of Millennium Post. Millennium Post is an English language daily published simultaneously from Delhi and Kolkata.” 

The Millennium Post was launched as a 16-page broadsheet daily on 2 May 2012 by Durbar Ganguly, former vice chairman and joint managing director, The Pioneer Group, who is also its editor. Its present editions, however, have been restricted to 12 pages.

Printed and published by Jaiyendra Kumar Sharma, the Delhi edition is printed at the Indian Express plant in Noida and the Kolkata edition at the Aajkaal press.

The editor Ganguly did not respond to emails sent to the id provided at the newspaper’s online portal. Roychowdhury could not be reached for an official comment.

CEO Sanku Bose, however, was recently quoted by exchange4media.com as saying that the acquisition of the English language publication is part of its long-term business strategy, and to help its media school students to gain exposure in the field. The Techno India Group runs a media school in Kolkata.

No further details of the acquisition have emerged though some media observers feel the buyout by Techno India Group could be part of its move to have a foothold in Delhi ahead of the 2024 general elections. The Millennium Post, on its part, wanted to infuse fresh life to the newspaper struggling to stay afloat after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both The Millennium Post and Aajkaal are said to be close to the TMC government in West Bengal. Coincidentally, both newspapers, in their Kolkata editions on 15 January 2023, led with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s interview to a news agency, speaking about Mamata Banerjee’s “ability to become the prime minister of India.”

Another prominent Bengali newspaper run from Kolkata, Bartaman Patrika, had last year launched a Hindi-language edition, targeted at the sizable Hindi-speaking population in the city. Bartaman Patrika was founded by Barun Sengupta, a former Anandabazar Patrika journalist. Once known for its anti-Left stance, Bartaman Patrika is now considered to be close to the TMC government.

The Techno India Group operates in the education, hospitality, and healthcare industries – running a network of educational institutions in Eastern India. “A collaborator with world’s leading IT giant Hewlett Packard (HP), Techno India Group encompasses 100 knowledge campuses with 4 university campuses, 22 Engineering colleges, 12 Business schools, 18 Public schools, 2 upcoming medical colleges and 4 health care units,” its website says.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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