TBA Opinion

How media’s ad revenue is all about politics in Telugu States

It doesn’t come as a surprise to decipher how the politics of Telugu States is interlinked with media houses. From Ramoji Rao’s Eenadu to ETv Network to Vemuri Radhakrishna’s ABN, Ravi Prakash’s TV9 which is now in control of Realtor Jupally Rameshwar Rao and YS Family’s Sakshi Media, every media house is directly funded by, and linked to different political parties. 

It is a known fact that the Telugu Desam Party since Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao’s Chiefministership received support from the ETV Network and Eenadu immensely. Later, several newspapers and media houses like ABN Andhrajyothi, Vaartha, Andhrabhoomi joined the bandwagon. 

After YSR’s stint as CM, Sakshi TV and TV9 sang praises to the Congress (and now, YSR Congress) and supported Rajasekhar Reddy’s (and now Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s) rise. Now, in Telangana, Telangana Today, Namaste Telangana and T9 are all in favour of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Even TV9, which is now bought by Jupally, is singing KCR’s tunes. 

All these show that politics and media houses run hand-in-hand furthering their agendas for one another. It is more of a quid-pro-quo understanding where media houses strategise and spread propaganda in favour of a certain political party (they are supporting) and the political party in return, gives them ads and increases that media houses’ revenues (which runs into crores). So, whichever party has won the election and is in the government eventually gives government ads to its favourite media house. 

This kind of political culture has also been reflecting openly the animosity of politicians towards a certain media house that publishes news against them. In a latest example, AP Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy has openly stated his dislike towards Eenadu, Etv and ABN Andhrajyothi, according to government sources. 

Responding to these comments, Andhrajyothi MD Vemuri Radhakrishna, through his weekly column, revealed facts about the income the Telugu news daily had lost during the last three years. However, RK made it clear that he would not compromise on raising voice against Jagan’s anti-people policies.  

Apparently, ever since the YSRCP won elections in 2019, Jagan benefited his own media group Sakshi to the tune of Rs. 300 crore in the form of advertisements. RK said that this was the first time in the country that such a huge amount was spent just on advertisements by any government, after Independence.

It is evident from this that the Jagan-led government got advertisements published and telecast on only the media he liked and ignored Andhrajyothi completely, RK said, adding that they had incurred nearly Rs. 250 crore of their share of ad revenue during Jagan’s rule.

While incurring losses as a media house, this is also the first open public disclosure of losses by any media house. It reflects the indomitable spirit and determination of RK in fighting for a cause while also paving the way for other media houses to put down government-sponsored dissent. 

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Tejaswini Pagadala

Communications Consultant: TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.
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