Maharashtra-based Lokmat Group of Newspapers has found an interesting way of extending reach - via an e-paper.
The group has launched an electronic edition of Lokmat, Nagpur and is in the process of uploading other editions on the web - including those of sister publications Lokmat Samachar (Hindi paper) and Lokmat Times (English paper) as well.
What sets an e-paper apart from regular websites is that the former is a replica of the physical paper, implying that online readers get to see the edition as it would appear to offline readers.
Besides, an e-paper has a number of options that a physical paper does not have. These include audio facility, where articles are read out by a voice-over, or video-streaming. The issues can be archived easily.
"From an advertiser's point of view," explains Jwalant Swaroop, director, advertising, Lokmat Group, "an e-paper allows him to easily view where his ads are placed at the click of a mouse, view the quality of production so on and so forth. You can also have a number of innovations to enhance the overall effect of the ad or you could have customised properties as well."
Apart from Lokmat, there are just a handful of papers in the country that have virtual editions including The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Deccan Chronicle, Central Chronicle, Andhrabhoomi and Navbharat.
Plans are afoot at Lokmat to aggressively promote the e-paper in its regular editions as well as on the website www.lokmat.com, apart from cross-promotions in allied media.
The group hopes to migrate readers of lokmat.com to the e-paper and thereby build a critical mass for it. "That would be our first priority," says Swaroop, "to try and get people to read the e-paper."
Parallely, the group is also looking to sell the concept to advertisers and apprise them of the features on hand. Swaroop maintains that advertisers will be charged for innovations created and the effective value-addition thereon. "But this does not mean that we will hike our ad rates," he adds.
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