Pune Paper tigers scrap it outYesterday (Saturday), instead of The Times of India, most (if not all) households subscribing to that daily rag received DNA instead . (DNA launched a Pune edition earlier last weeks and has been on an advertising offensive from several months ago.) When asked, our newspaper vendor said vaguely that there was some problem with the distribution of the TOI that day. TOI was also not to be seen on newsstands during the day.
In today's Sunday TOI Pune edition, there was a front-page notice from the paper alleging that a competitor paid off distributors to boycott the TOI on Saturday and calling it an infringement of ethics. It seems to me that this could be an accurate version of events given that everyone I spoke to seems to have received DNA instead (not the Indian Express or even Sakal, as has happened in earlier cases when the TOI was unavailable). (I have been sampling DNA through the week - I used to read it more regularly in Bombay by pinching it from outside my neighbour's door and replacing it back neatly folded before he woke up at noon! - and have found it a decent paper to consume snippets from.)
If DNA indeed did stall TOI's distribution, then it's quite an aggressive step, not to mention totally unethical. The problem is: where do we get objective information about this from? Pune does not really have a local news channel or a news website which could have covered this (though this site probably qualifies). This interesting situation needs some monitoring.
 Yes, I confess that despite all my complaints, we still subscribe to the TOI. I buy other newspapers from time to time, especially on weekends.