27 January, 2021

The Other Scoop

How companies help scribes make their stash

The Other Scoop

IT was during the mid-'80s stock market boom that the practice of giving gifts to journalists covering share issues became institutionalised. At the beginning of the '90s, however, merchant bankers and financial advertising agencies noticed that attendance at share issue press conferences was dwindling. Enquiries revealed that the scribes now possessed so many wall clocks and wallets and tea-sets that they no longer found it worthwhile to attend these press meets. By common consensus, it was then decided to give Rs 500 gift vouchers from leading department stores so the reporters could buy what they wanted. Last year, the value of the voucher was raised to Rs 1,000. This is the average. Depending on how desperate you are to get positive media mileage, the value of the gift voucher (or gift) could go up to Rs 5,000.

In Bombay, things are very organised. There are people who even buy gift vouchers off the journalists—the equation being Rs 450 against a voucher worth Rs 500. Many of these vouchers are then bought back by the ad agencies from the touts for Rs 475. This...



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