It was on July 4, 1997 that the Times of India (TOI), World’s largest read English Newspaper, carried its first colour photograph. Since then, the paper has gradually increased its colour pages, all the while balancing the need to look bright with the need to look sober. TOI is published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. (BCCL).
In 2004, TOI decided it was time for to change to all colour in order to maximise the sensory experience. Given the massive circulation and exacting production values, there were very, very few manufacturers around the world who could build the kind of huge capacity, top-of-line printing presses needed by the newspaper. It took a year-and-a-half to make, ship and install the truly world-class printing presses that, from April 25 gives an all-colour edition of TOI Mumbai. This is the first time that an integrated 32-page full-colour paper is being produced in India. (In January 2003, TOI-Delhi became the first paper in the country to go all-colour.)
With this change, Times International, which has won widespread appreciation since it was launched as a separate section over a year ago, is being integrated with the main section. A number of readers have suggested that while they love the foreign news spread, they find it a little difficult to navigate so many sections in the paper (there are at least four, often six, on any given day, averaging over 50 pages — and that’s without including Mumbai Mirror). The editorial opinion page also comes back into the main section. Times Trends moves from Times International to the page opposite editorial opinion with enhanced content.
TOI has also refined the paper’s design in order to make the reading experience more enjoyable. At The Times Of India, it is the company’s endeavor to bring greater and greater value every day through the Kaizen philosophy of continuous incremental improvement. These latest changes are part of that ceaseless effort. What does not change is the passion for good journalism and the commitment to keep at the center of the universe.
Meanwhile, the group’s Marathi daily, Maharashtra Times will also get all colour by the end of this month.
The Times of India in Changing Times
November 3, 1838: The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce, a bi-weekly publication, is launched. The port city of Bombay is coming into its own and needs a publication to reflect its growth. The front page is taken up solely by classified advertisements (a practice that continues up to 1939) including one on a shipment of opium to China Dr J E Brennan the first editor is also secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. He doesn’t resign from either post—the office-for-profit rules hadn’t yet been framed
Founding fathers: A British syndicate of 11 firms, two barristers, a doctor, and the Parsi merchant prince Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy. The journalists come later
1855: Telegraph service opens up in India. Shortly afterwards, the paper signs an agreement with Reuters for ‘raising news coverage and lowering subscription rates’. That old tie was renewed last year with the pact between Times Now and Reuters.
Sep 28, 1861: After acquiring two smaller rivals, the paper is finally rechristened The Times of India. Before this, for a brief while, it was The Bombay Times and Standard.
1892: Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, the holding company formed. Thomas Bennett, as editor and sole proprietor, offers a partnership to F M Coleman, a whiz at newspaper production.
Deadlines: Editor Stanley Reed (1907 to 1923) revolutionises news production by extending the deadline to midnight. Until then, any news that came in after 5 pm was held over for the next day. Journalists, who saw their evenings being permanently ruined, rebelled, but Reed would have none of it.
1902: The paper moves into its current offices opposite Victoria Terminus. It started out at the Parsi Bazar and then moved on to Churchgate where things got so bad that editor Bennett had to complete his editorial elsewhere after the ceiling fan collapsed in his room.
1915: In a bold move, and setting the policy for the future, the cover price is slashed from four annas to a more inviting one anna even as new rotary machines capable of greater volume push up supply.
1946: The paper passes into Indian hands, an event mirrored in editorial policy which becomes openly nationalist. (Although critics still snarkily refer to The Times as the ‘last outpost of the British empire’).
1949: Matrimonials, the big money-spinner, marches in. The ads are known, unsubtly, as ‘Catches and Hatches’; before the term ‘homely spinster’ gained currency it was ‘homely virgin’.
1950: The TOI crest changes from the lion and unicorn (a symbol of imperial Britain) to two elephants; the new credo: Let Truth Prevail.
1957: R K Laxman’s You Said It starts its long innings.
1991: The Times of India is chosen as one of the world’s six greatest newspapers by the BBC.
1994: Bombay Times, the sassy colour supplement that chronicles the changing lifestyle mores of a globalising city is launched. Similar supplements in other centres follow.
1996: www.timesofindia.com launched.
July 4, 1997: TOI Mumbai carries its first colour photograph.
January 2003: TOI Delhi becomes the first paper in India to go allcolour
TOI is the largest English daily broadsheet worldwide. Over three million copies a day is the circulation between its ten full-fledged editions in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Pune, Patna and Kolkata. Its readership touches five million.