Chennai Circulation Wars
The Hindu had sought to restrain the ABC from issuing a certificate for the Chennai edition of the Deccan Chronicle, for the period July-December 2005, and thereafter. The Hindu had also claimed interim relief and costs.
The core issue is the commissions paid by Deccan Chronicle in Chennai to the trade. As per ABC norms, the total trade commission ceiling is reportedly at 40 per cent of the cover price. Deccan Chronicle’s cover price was at Re 1 till very recently (applies to the July-December period; it now sells at Rs 1.50). While Deccan Chronicle claims that the commission is 35 paisa, industry players, including The Hindu, contest this.
The Bombay High Court has rejected the plea by The Hindu to restrain the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) from issuing an "ABC Certificate" for the circulation of the Chennai edition of the Deccan Chronicle for the period JulyDecember 2005. The plea was made by Ms Kasturi and Sons, publishers of The Hindu, and was rejected by an order dated April 25, 2006, signed by Justice (Ms) Nishita Mhatre.In a revealing comment, the publishers of The Hindu admitted in their plea that such a certificate issued to the Deccan Chronicle "would adversely affect the circulation and advertising revenues of The Hindu" and would "also adversely affect the business interests of The Hindu, which has a dominant market share in Chennai." The statements implicitly recognised the fact that the Deccan Chronicle, which started printing in Chennai on March 28, 2005, had effectively eroded the claimed monopoly of The Hindu in Chennai.Kasturi & Sons added that "there is every possibility that their advertising market would be hampered" and claimed damages "on account of losses and hardships they suffered."