July 09, 2008

Analysis of TOI's Teach-India Project

'Times Of India' has struck the chord once again with its 'Teach India' initiative. Their previous project was 'Lead India' campaign, a campaign that encouraged entrepreneurship among Indians.

Purpose (Idea)

With a population of over 287 million illiterate Indians, we need motivated teachers in every corner of the country to go back to school. The aim is to bring together children in need of education and people who can contribute a little time towards teaching them. To begin with, the project is introduced in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.


This mission would not have been possible without the partnership of over 60 NGOs, schools and companies such as Hindustan Lever, Aditya Birla Group, Nokia, Wipro, Reliance Communications, Barclays and Amex. The companies have come on board with the promise that at least 50 employees will commit two hours a week on company time to teaching.

TOI has made good use of its existing popularity in winning the support of NGOs, and tie-up with coporate companies. The partnership with right organizations is what I believe to be the first step in carrying out a social experiment. The NGOs know where to find people in need of education, the poor, and the illiterates. The corporate companies are the ones to fund the experiment and offer mass volunteers. So, TOI has done its groundwork perfectly with tie-ups.

We have seen the best of viral videos in TOI's Lead-India campaign. The videos spread all across the web and some on television too. I'm sure Teach-India project will also capitalize on social websites to go viral. Being a media company, no external PR or Marketing agency is required.

Teach-India project is an offline venture that gets the help of internet to speedup the process of volunteer registrations, etc. This is exactly how a successful experiment should be carried out. Especially in India where not everyone has access to internet, offline mode is very essential for the success of the project. So, it brings both offline and online worlds together. One without the other will have less impact and reachability to the masses.


The highest response has come from the capital city, Delhi, followed closely by Mumbai, and then by Chennai and Kolkata. There was more than 10,000 people signing up to pledge at least two hours a week to teach a child in their neighbourhood, mostly for weekend sessions. This army of volunteers is a multi-lingual, multi-talented one drawn from diverse streams - doctors, lawyers, company executives, etc...

Business Plan

Lead-India and Teach-India projects are social initiatives by TOI with a business model wrapped around it. Truly, they are noble efforts with a worthy cause. But, they are not without a profit in mind. I love such undertakings that wrap a for-profit business plan around a noble cause. Its a win-win for all. For the same reason, I love the open-source companies like Redhat, Sun, Automattic, Google, etc...

So, How does TOI profit from these social projects?
First of all, these projects create a BUZZ in the media world. They have successfully created a topic of conversation for the bloggers and media to jump-on. Thus, getting the "Times of India" name to appear everywhere.

Secondly, they create a loyal readership and fan-following from most of the country-lovers and educated citizens who wish to see India grow. That includes a substantial percentage of the youth and NRIs.

Thirdly, TOI has partnered with several NGOs for these initiatives. Hence, the NGOs tend to spread the word and advertise 'Times Of India' for free. On the whole, TOI has acquired the title of being a dynamic non-evil media company in India. This means increase in reputation, readership and revenue.


Well Done TOI! Keep it up and continue to lead as an example to all other media companies in India.

Click here for answers to the following questions...
How do I apply?
How does Teach India work?
What kind of education will I be providing?
How long will I have to teach?

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