20 August 2013 front page of the Kolkata edition of The Times of India
|Owner(s)||The Times Group|
|Publisher||Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.|
|Founded||3 November 1838|
|Circulation||3,198,449 daily (as of Jul-Dec 2017)|
|Sister newspapers||The Economic Times|
The Times of India (TOI) is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world according to Audit Bureau of Circulations (India). It is the oldest English-language newspaper in India still in circulation, with its first edition published in 1838 and the second-oldest Indian newspaper still in circulation after the Bombay Samachar. Near the beginning of the 20th century, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, called The Times of India "the leading paper in Asia". In 1991, the BBC ranked The Times of India among the world's six best newspapers.
It is owned and published by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd., which is owned by the Sahu Jain family. In the Brand Trust Report 2012 The Times of India was ranked 88th among India's most-trusted brands. In 2017, however, the newspaper was ranked 355th.
The Times of India issued its first edition on 3 November 1838 as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce. The paper published Wednesdays and Saturdays under the direction of Raobahadur Narayan Dinanath Velkar, a Maharashtrian Reformist, and contained news from Britain and the world, as well as the Indian Subcontinent. J.E. Brennan was its first editor. In 1850, it began to publish daily editions.
In 1860, editor Robert Knight (1825-1892) bought the Indian shareholders' interests, merged with rival Bombay Standard, and started India's first news agency. It wired Times dispatches to papers across the country and became the Indian agent for Reuters news service. In 1861, he changed the name from the Bombay Times and Standard to The Times of India. Knight fought for a press free of prior restraint or intimidation, frequently resisting the attempts by governments, business interests, and cultural spokesmen and led the paper to national prominence. In the 19th century, this newspaper company employed more than 800 people and had a sizeable circulation in India and Europe.
Subsequently The Times of India saw its ownership change several times until 1892 when an English journalist named Thomas Jewell Bennett along with Frank Morris Coleman (who later drowned in the 1915 sinking of the SS Persia) acquired the newspaper through their new joint stock company, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.
Sir Stanley Reed edited The Times of India from 1907 until 1924 and received correspondence from the major figures of India such as Mahatma Gandhi. In all he lived in India for fifty years. He was respected in the United Kingdom as an expert on Indian current affairs. He christened Jaipur as "the Pink City of India".
Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd was sold to sugar magnate Ramkrishna Dalmia of the then-famous industrial family, the Dalmiyas, for Rs 20 million in 1946, as India was becoming independent and the British owners were leaving. In 1955 the Vivian Bose Commission of Inquiry found that Ramkrishna Dalmia, in 1947, had engineered the acquisition of the media giant Bennett Coleman & Co. by transferring money from a bank and an insurance company of which he was the Chairman. In the court case that followed, Ramkrishna Dalmia was sentenced to two years in Tihar Jail after having been convicted of embezzlement and fraud.
But for most of the jail term he managed to spend in hospital. Upon his release, his son-in-law, Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain, to whom he had entrusted the running of Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. rebuffed his efforts to resume command of the company.
In the early 1960s, Shanti Prasad Jain was imprisoned on charges of selling newsprint on the black market. And based on the Vivian Bose Commission's earlier report which found wrongdoings of the Dalmia - Jain group, that included specific charges against Shanti Prasad Jain, the Government of India filed a petition to restrain and remove the management of Bennett, Coleman and Company. Based on the pleading, Justice directed the Government to assume control of the newspaper which resulted in replacing half of the directors and appointing a Bombay (now Mumbai) High Court judge as the Chairman.
Following the Vivian Bose Commission report indicating serious wrongdoings of the Dalmia-Jain group, on 28 August 1969, the Bombay High Court, under Justice J. L. Nain, passed an interim order to disband the existing board of Bennett Coleman and to constitute a new board under the Government. The bench ruled that "Under these circumstances, the best thing would be to pass such orders on the assumption that the allegations made by the petitioners that the affairs of the company were being conducted in a manner prejudicial to public interest and to the interests of the Company are correct". Following that order, Shanti Prasad Jain ceased to be a director and the company ran with new directors on board, appointed by the Government of India, with the exception of a lone stenographer of the Jains. Curiously, the court appointed D K Kunte as Chairman of the Board. Kunte had no prior business experience and was also an opposition member of the Lok Sabha.
In 1976, during the Emergency in India, the Government transferred ownership of the newspaper back to Ashok Kumar Jain (Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain's son, Ramkrishna Dalmia's grandson and the father of Samir Jain and Vineet Jain). The Jains too often landed themselves in various money laundering scams and Ashok Kumar Jain had to flee the country when the Enforcement Directorate pursued his case strongly in 1998 for alleged violations of illegal transfer of funds (to the tune of US$1.25 million) to an overseas account in Switzerland.
On 26 June 1975, the day after India declared a state of emergency, the Bombay edition of The Times of India carried an entry in its obituary column that read "D.E.M. O'Cracy, beloved husband of T.Ruth, father of L.I.Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justice expired on 25 June". The move was a critique of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's 21-month state of emergency, which is now widely known as "the Emergency" and seen by many as a roundly authoritarian era of Indian government.
In late 2006, Times Group acquired Vijayanand Printers Limited (VPL). VPL previously published two Kannada newspapers, Vijay Karnataka and Usha Kiran, and an English daily, Vijay Times. Vijay Karnataka was the leader in the Kannada newspaper segment then.
The paper launched a Chennai edition, 12 April 2008. It launched a Kolhapur edition, February 2013.
Introduced in 2013 and awarded for the second time in 2016, "The Times of India Film Awards" or the "TOIFA" is an award for the work in Film Industry decided by a global public vote on the nomination categories.
The Times of India is published by the media group Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. The company, along with its other group of companies, known as The Times Group, also publishes Ahmedabad Mirror; Bangalore Mirror; Bangalore Times, Delhi Times; The Economic Times; ET Panache (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru on Monday to Friday and as Times of India ET Panache in Pune and Chennai, Every Saturday) Ei Samay, (a Bengali daily); the Maharashtra Times, (a Marathi-language daily broadsheet); Mumbai Mirror; the Navbharat Times, (a Hindi-language daily broadsheet); and Pune Mirror.
The Times of India has its markets in major cities such as Mumbai,Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Calicut, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Guwahati, Hubli, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolhapur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, Mysore, Nagpur, Nashik, Panaji, Patna, Puducherry, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Surat, Trichy, Trivandrum, Varanasi, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.
A majority of the revenue for Times of India is attributed from advertising over circulation, unlike western publications. Vineet Jain MD of BCCL Times Group has been on record to say in 2012 to the New Yorker Magazine "We are not in the newspaper business, we are in the advertising business." . The group gains significant revenue from its Newspaper Advertising Business selling Jacket Ads, Front Page Display Ad Innovations to premium advertisers and is the largest publisher of matrimonial newspaper classifieds.