Bengalis will soon have a Mirror to look at every morning

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 18, 2008
The Times Group plans to launch its tabloid brand, Mirror, in Kolkata by June 2008

The Times & #BANNER1 & # Group will launch its tabloid brand, Mirror, in Kolkata by June 2008. Kolkata has a few regional language tabloids, but Mirror will be its first English language tabloid.

Sources close to the development reveal that the cover price for the tabloid in Kolkata is most likely to be Re 1. Parent newspaper The Times of India (TOI) is also priced at Re 1 on weekdays. However, the Sunday cover price for TOI is Rs 4.

Senior media planners in the industry say that launch of a tabloid in any market reflects the maturity of the publishing industry in that market. Tabloids form the next level in markets where broadsheet newspapers have already made a mark, provided the market has enough scope for readership.

One of the factors that could have played a role in holding back an English tabloid launch in the Kolkata market is the region's slack industrial growth. In the last decade, Kolkata has seen slow industrial growth and it has not been perceived as a potential industrial centre. But things have changed in the last couple of years with industrialisation and consumerism catching on apace.

A tabloid launch in Kolkata in the present circumstances could prove to be a successful venture. Kolkata has always enjoyed a healthy 'adda' culture, in which gossip plays an integral role. Like Mumbai, Kolkata too has "on the move" readers who travel frequently in local and subterranean trains. Kolkata also enjoys a high literacy rate of around 80 per cent, which exceeds the national average of 64 per cent. The high literacy rate has also resulted in high readership of English and regional dailies in the region.

Anand Bazaar Patrika, the Bengali daily from the ABP Group, has a circulation of 12,14,924 and a readership of 68.55 lakh as per ABC's January-June figures and IRS Round 2 figures in 2007, respectively. Among the English dailies, The Telegraph from the same group leads the market with a circulation of 4,57,100 copies, followed by TOI and The Statesman with 3,31,325 and 1,71,815 copies, respectively.

Mirror is likely to use the 'Let's Cut the Gyaan - Cut for You' brand positioning in the Kolkata market. The same positioning was used for the tabloid when it was launched in New Delhi and Bangalore and, more recently, in Ahmedabad. The company is in the process of putting the printing and personnel requirements in place.

Mirror claims to have a circulation figure of 7,00,000 in Mumbai. In New Delhi and Bangalore, it has a circulation of 1.5 lakh copies and 1.3 lakh copies, respectively. The paper is circulated as a complimentary add-on to TOI in Mumbai, but in New Delhi, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, it is independent of the parent newspaper. The price of the tabloid in New Delhi and Bangalore is Rs 1.50 and Re 1, respectively.