Unspun‘s been told by good authority that The Jakarta Globe will launch no later than November 14. It may be even earlier, say, on November 6 if the print registration could be sorted out.
It must be for the reason of the imminent launch soon that that JR was in a hotel that he owns last night talking to newspaper distributors. Lots of interesting stories surrounding the circulation wars, depending on who you listen to. From Unspun‘s standpoint it sounds like a bare knuckle contest for the wallets and the hearts of the distributors, who, apparently would also be treated to a dinner tonight
But even as JR struggles to launch The Jakarta Globe, The Grapevine tells Unspun that the tycoon is looking to launch at least another two newspapers. One of them is a revival of the storeyed Merdeka, a newspaper started by B.M. Dian in 1945. Unspun‘s not sure of the history (perhaps someone out there can help set the record straight) but merdeka apparently at one point came under the ownership of the Jawa Pos Group.
Then something happened and the Jawa Pos Group started rakyat Merdeka instead, leaving Merdeka defunct. Word is that JR is trying to revive the paper and getting a veteran journalist from Kompas to head it.
There is also another paper that JR is trying to start up but for the moment there is very little information about it.
What is the purpose of all this enterprise of JR in starting newspapers, a business that is troubled by rising paper, operations and distribution costs? Surely there would be other businesses much more worthwhile investing in?
Yes, but say Unspun‘s pundit panel, newspapers would give whoever owns them an entre into political circles. Election year, they say, is around the corner and JR is headging his bets with all top political parties.
He’s already managed to make inroads into the SBY camp with a senior putative journalist being present in many trips and delegations, and picking up the tab for dinenrs and other entetainment to the Press.
With Merdeka he could get close to PDI-P. If Unspun‘s pundit panel is correct, this is a fascinating peek into how some businesses operate in Indonesia.