afaqs!

Mid-Day to focus on top 10 metros and new media

By Sapna Nair , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | July 28, 2008
Mid-Day is looking at launching editions in the top 10 metros of the country, but with limited print runs. The selection criteria for new markets will be a large YUMPI audience, English readers and the city's economic potential

After & #BANNER1 & # Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, Pune is the next destination for Mid-Day Infomedia. Since the last one year, the tabloid has been harping on its YUMPI (young urban mobile professionals of India) target group, the 'mass prestige' segment. Its focus on this segment intensified when, because of the entry of two big print barons in the market, its circulation dropped by 20 per cent and its advertising revenue was hit.

Manajit Ghoshal, group chief financial officer, has taken over the reins at Mid-Day now, bearing the additional responsibility of chief executive officer as well. He is clear about his goal - to create the most different media company in the country. While becoming a multicity, multimedia company is everybody's objective, Ghoshal thinks that Mid-Day is better equipped to attain these goals faster because it's a smaller company and can change quickly.

Manajit Ghoshal
Another important agenda is to continuously spend less on marketing communications - not having the big money to do so - and create impact and visibility. "Mid-Day wants to be associated with people who do things differently. It helps us differentiate from the clutter of newspapers," he says.

Mid-Day is looking at launching editions in the top 10 metros of the country, but with limited print runs. "We want to launch with a circulation of 70,000 copies and not 5,00,000 in places such as Hyderabad and Pune. These markets won't support such high circulation figures because there are established players there," Ghoshal explains. The selection criteria for new markets will be a large YUMPI audience, English readers and the city's economic potential.

The Internet is also a focus area for the tabloid. Mid-Day plans to make and position its website as a one stop destination for all local happenings and entertainment news. It has started uploading videos (by tying up with YouTube and Daily Motion) and will soon have separate features for local news for each city.

"There will be a lot of cross-promotions within the paper and website to facilitate footfalls and readership," says Ghoshal. The existing print editorial teams in various cities will be trained to contribute to the website.

Mobile will be another focus area. Mid-Day Infomedia has already tied up with Vodafone and is in talks with service providers to introduce daily alerts and breaking news alerts.

"We want to position Mid-Day at every touchpoint in a YUMPI's life," says Ghoshal. "As he steps out of home for work, there will be a Mid-Day news segment on the radio, briefing him on all the happenings in the city in the morning, the news website (updates and teasers) at work, the tabloid in the afternoon, alerts throughout the day and a WAP site on mobile and television when back home."

Mid-Day plans to have a tieup with news channels to air special Mid-Day news capsules. Right now, talks are on with a few news channels for a weekend Mid-Day show. "We don't have the resources and the inclination to launch a television channel, but we can always provide content to channels," Ghoshal says.

The group's other print products are Gujarati Mid-Day and the Urdu Inquilab. Since Urdu readership is dipping, it has become difficult to monetise the latter. The company is contemplating launching an English newspaper for the Muslim community in its stead.

Ghoshal rules out any regional foray by the tabloid. "If the Mid-Day brand has to go to smaller cities, it will have to take the franchise route by supplying content to already existing players. I don't think we have the capability to venture there. But it might be an exciting prospect and we are open to it," he says.