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Battleground Mumbai: who is the winner?

By , agencyfaqs! | In Media Publishing | April 24, 2006
How far have the new English Mumbai dailies, HT, DNA, and Mumbai Mirror been successful in creating a market


Last year two & #BANNER1 & # English dailies - 'Hindustan Times' and 'DNA' (Daily News and Analysis) -- were launched in Mumbai hoping to invade 'The Times of India's' strong castle.

A year later have these newspapers managed to make a dent in TOI's citadel? Well not yet. The half period figures released by MRUC (Media Research Users Council) in the IRS 2006, Round 1 survey don't indicate so.

According to these figures, 'Hindustan Times' has managed 2.85 lakh readers, while 'DNA' has a readership of 4.02 lakh. In comparison, 'Mumbai Mirror', the tabloid launched by the TOI group has managed a whopping 7.65 lakh readership figure. So is 'Mumbai Mirror' the real winner? Not exactly. The newspaper is still distributed free along with TOI, so it was bound to get a share of TOI's readership. The real test for the newspaper will be now when TOI is planning to sell it independently.

Industry experts such as Amin Lakhani, director CTG, Group M, say, "Among all the newspapers launched last year, 'Mumbai Mirror' has the got highest amount of sampling because it was distributed along with the TOI main edition. But this again has had a negative effect. The newspaper is considered to be a supplement just like Bombay Times."

"As a result people are not consciously reading Mumbai Mirror. Otherwise, its readership would have been equivalent to 'The Times of India' with the same number of copies," adds Lakhani.

In terms of sampling, 'DNA' has also had a good run thanks to its aggressive outdoor campaigns, and circulation drive.

A Mumbai-based senior media buyer says, "DNA certainly has had a good start. It was also quick to identify what the Mumbai English readers want. But it got late in launching the newspaper. By this time, TOI already figured these change in readership trend and was quick to implement them in its newspaper."

'Hindustan Times' which managed a readership of 2.85 lakh is also quite satisfied with its achievement. In fact, at the time of the launch, senior executives at HT had clearly said that they were not looking at huge numbers, instead they want to build a base of quality readers."

Manish Porwal, executive director, India-west, Starcom, feels that among the new launches, HT is a superior product. He says, "It is a great product but unfortunately it has not been successful in creating a brand. The daily now needs to get aggressive in its marketing initiatives."

Echoes Lakhani of GroupM. "HT has managed around 20 per cent of the English readers in the city, that too without much of a marketing effort. This indicates that the daily has built itself as a credible product among readers. It has also a strong distribution set up, which will be helpful for the newspaper in the long run. The daily now needs to decide whether it wants to grow exponentially or aggressively. "

According to these media planners, the second phase of the media war will now start, especially when TOI launches Mumbai Mirror as an independent newspaper.

But if one goes by these industry watchers, there's still time before these newspapers pose a threat to TOI's strong fortress.

Porwal asserts, "In the micro-set of newspapers, TOI is unavoidable. If one wants both quality consumers as well as numbers, the advertiser will have to trust TOI.

It seems the trends will go on as of now. And both HT and DNA, now, have enough samples to figure newer strategies for this battleground Mumbai.

2006 agencyfaqs!

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