Friday, September 08, 2006

Walt Disney buys out Chandamama - Cultural Imperialism gets a strangehold on young Indian minds.

I used to read this magazine when I was a kid.
I am disheartened to read that Walt Disney is now all set to acquire it.

Click on image for larger picture

Walt Disney all set to buy out Chandamama
Western propoganda will now to be directly beamed into the minds
of young children.

MUMBAI: Walt Disney, the iconic American brand synonymous with kids and fun across the world, is in talks to buy out Chandamama, the well-established household magazine that kids and adults love equally.

The sale is a bid to modernise the magazine that was launched in 1947. Disney's move, if it succeeds, could see it controlling a publication that is deeply entrenched in the minds of the traditional Indian middle-class household. It developed content and a message based on Indian culture and ethos. Before the advent of satellite TV, internet and the spread of Bollywood, Chandamama was a popular reading material for the entire household. Even today, it sells over 200,000 copies in over 12 languages.

The size of the deal is expected to be under Rs 20 crore, the sources added. Though the value is not very high, the importance of the deal lies in Chandamama's unique brand recall and popularity even in the age of satellite TV and internet. Mr Vinod Sethi, former Morgan Stanley MD, and the family of filmmaker B Nagi Reddy own more than 60% in Chandamama India, the publishing house of the magazine.

The remaining stake is owned by some major corporates, including the Tata and Dabur group. Mr Viswanatha Reddy is the editor, publisher and managing director of Chandamama India.

Mr Sethi declined to comment on the issue. However, sources close to the development said apart from Walt Disney, the promoters are also talking to a prominent NRI business group that has major plans for the Indian entertainment industry. Mr K Seshasayee, spokesperson for Walt Disney India, denied the development saying, "It's speculation."

If successful, the move to sell controlling stake in Chandamama could be one of the most high-profile developments in Indian media, after the government allowed 100% FDI in speciality magazines, a category under which Chandamama is currently slotted.


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