When agencyfaqs! spoke about the combined HT-DNA circulation in Mumbai & #BANNER1 & # touching four lakhs during the next 6-12 months, few believed us. But with DNA claiming that it has got over three lakh subscriptions, and HT announcing a print-run of two lakhs, the combined circulation figure now threatens to touch the 5-lakh mark.
Welcome to Battleground Mumbai.
It was always apparent that the circulation of the challengers will be the most crucial aspect in this game of high stakes. As per ABC July-December 2004, total net paid sales of TOI's Mumbai edition is 6.03 lakh. With DNA and HT making these claims, can the Old Lady of Boribunder afford to sit pretty?
Prasun Kumar, media director, Madison, had earlier told agencyfaqs!: "DNA and HT will have to notch up a combined circulation of around five lakhs to put up a serious challenge to TOI." That's what is apparently happening now.
It is now more or less decided that DNA, or Daily News & Analysis, will make its debut in Mumbai on July 30. The newspaper, according to sources, will have its soft launch on July 21, when the first copies will be printed.
This means DNA will be closely following Hindustan Times, which announced on Monday that its Mumbai edition will be launched on July 14. Apparently, DNA has planned a mega launch party to announce its Mumbai launch in style.
The English newspaper from the ZEE-Bhaskar combine is currently in the midst of various tie-ups to ensure maximum buzz around the launch. Apparently, DNA's next phase of advertising has a set of six creatives in place across 150 hoardings in Mumbai.
The subscribers will be in focus as the messages in the hoardings include subscriber's names and occupations. DNA has created a TVC as well.
The paper has apparently tied up with Aamir Khan-starrer, 'Mangal Pandey' as well. Sources said, the movie's outdoor communication in Mumbai will carry the tagline, 'Courage was in his DNA'.
DNA, unlike HT, will not have to suffer the pitfalls of the 'outsider' tag. Hiren Pandit, general manager, MindShare Mumbai, had earlier told agencyfaqs!: "HT carries the image of being a Delhi-based newspaper. That, unfortunately, won't go down smoothly with a section of Mumbaikars." DNA, being a new publication, doesn't have a pre-conceived image, and its billboard campaign has been a success.
Pricing will be an issue for both the publications. TOI, media planners say, has a good control over vendors/hawkers. Apparently, out of TOI's cover price of Rs 4, forty per cent - or, around Rs 1.60 - goes to the hawkers. To keep the hawkers in good humour, both DNA and HT will have to shell out a similar amount of money, media planners say.
One possible way of doing it is by pricing the dailies at par with TOI. However, this may not be a favourable strategy for DNA and HT as readers may not be willing to spend more than Rs 2 for a second newspaper. The other possible way out is to monetarily compensate the hawkers, while keeping a low price tag. However, this will cut deep into the publishers' pockets.
This is probably why both HT and DNA have adopted a safer path of subscription. These dailies are wooing readers with attractive subscription offers in a bid to penetrate the Mumbai market. HT, as reported earlier, is available at 97 paise per copy for those who opt for a year's subscription at Rs 348. DNA, meanwhile, will be available at Rs 2 for the first six months for subscribers.
© 2005 agencyfaqs!