Editor’s blog: Indian delivery problems

Congratulations are due to the Indians, who yesterday successfully launched their first mission to the Moon. The unmanned Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off from a launch pad in southern Andhra Pradesh and its robotic probe will orbit the Moon, compiling a 3-D atlas of the lunar surface and mapping the distribution of elements and minerals. It’s a vital morale booster for the ultra-competitive Indians as they race to keep up with other Asian space-faring nations.

It reminded me that India remains ‘a land of contrasts’, as they used to say in the Indian tourist office poster. The other side of India was revealed to me recently by a senior executive from a global weekly business publication. This magazine has high hopes for penetration of the Indian market and has overcome the swathes of red tape and regulation to build a healthy base of eager subscribers. In taking the country’s business media by storm, though, it didn’t bank on the unusual work practices of the average Indian postman. Apparently it’s quite common for highly desirable foreign magazines which are mailed to readers not to arrive for weeks, even months, after they are sent from the distribution centre.

A closer examination of Delhi and Bangalore’s Postmen Pat revealed some novel, and highly entrepreneurial activity. It’s quite common for Pat to supplement his modest income by renting out magazines he’s supposed to deliver to other customers on his round before it actually arrives in the letterbox of the original, official subscriber. And when it does turn up, it’s often so well-thumbed and marked-up with excited commentary in biro that it’s completely dog-eared. The problem is so widespread that said weekly now has to hand-deliver all copies by a private courier.

We’re all for readers sharing their copies of MT. And if you’re guilty of snaffling the office copy, maybe you should sign up here for a sub…

In today’s bulletin:
High street fright as shoppers take flight
Shy away from retiring
Editor’s blog: Indian delivery problems
Survey sends BSkyB plunging
MT’s Little Ray of Sunshine: Bremner does Peston

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    Dear Mathew,
    Sorry to hear of the trouble your friend is experiencing in India. If he needs a cost effective quality service provider of bespoke courier services, he really should get in touch with me. Blatant sales stuff aside, research would give him a few names he could trust in this area, and mine would be at the top (sorry could not resist)