May was a bad month for India’s influencers as a group, across both local and global media. Concerns related to oil and the continuing global credit crisis dominated global media. And local media was more focused on inflation. Not surprisingly, only three of the influencers were cited more in Indian media in May than they were in April, and only four in global media. As a group, the 20 influencers—chief executives, ministers, and policy makers—were cited 39% lower in May than in April in Indian media and 9% lower in global media.
One of the three to show some gains in Indian media was Bajaj chairman Rahul Bajaj; this can be attributed to the interest surrounding the relisting of various Bajaj group companies that had been demerged from the automotive business. And two of the four influencers to show some gains in terms of citings in global media, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal and Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group head Anil Ambani, did so because of worldwide interest over their deal-making with South African telecom MTN Group. Bharti Airtel called off talks with MTN in late May and Reliance Communications immediately emerged on the scene as a suitor.
In terms of their ranking among the top 20 (by citings), too, Anil Ambani and Sunil Mittal made significant gains in May. Ambani was ranked No. 4 in May compared with No. 7 in April and Mittal No. 2 in May compared with No. 3 in April (both are for global media). However, India’s finance minister P. Chidambaram continued to remain at No. 1 in terms of citings in both the global and Indian media, although he wasn’t cited as much as he was in April across both.
The Mint Influencers Index is a monthly, objective measure based on media analysis by Dow Jones Insight, which tracks these leaders, looking at the volume of media citings for each of them as a proxy for their rising or waning influence. The assumption is that visibility and share of voice is good for them and their companies and, in the case of global media, collectively the index is a good surrogate for the growing or waning interest in India.
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