Tamil daily Dinakaran has launched an eight page free classifieds pullout to woo more readers and advertisers in Chennai. The pullout, Vari Vilambarangal (which means Line Ads), is circulated free with the Sunday edition of Dinakaran.
According to R Vijay Bobby, general manager, marketing, Dinakaran, it's an innovation never experimented with in the language print industry. The idea, which was launched last month according to Bobby, has lead to an over all increase in circulation of Dinakaran on Sunday by about 10 per cent "so far".
The Chennai edition of Dinakaran, as per ABC (January-June, 2008) has an average circulation of 2.29 lakh copies. While the weekday copy of Dinakaran has a cover price of Rs 2, it bears a price tag of Rs 3 on Sundays.
The concept, though, is not totally free. Highlighting the ad comes at a price. A simple bullet at the beginning of the ad costs Rs 25, a box - Rs 50 and a colour background is available at Rs 100.
The pullout contains commercial (paid) ads, too, from businessmen, used vehicle dealers and even matrimonials. "The experiment has worked in two ways. While we get more readers and increase our circulation, it has helped us attract untapped advertisers, too, which range from used car dealers to job placement agencies and real estate agents."
Meanwhile, the rate for commercial ads is Rs 170 per line; for black and white display ads, the rate is Rs 690 per column centimetre; and a colour display ad space can be bought for Rs 1,380 per column centimetre.
Bobby adds that Dinakaran has a software to ensure that business ads are not being posted as free ads. "The software detects if the contact info is being repeated and rejects the caller or the ad," he says. The ratio of free ads and paid ads, currently, is 60:40.
To make the pullout content rich, it offers other value added information. "We generally spread information across categories. For example, the automobile section could have tips on saving petrol or other RTO (Road Transport Office) related information. Similarly, the real estate section could have tips and information on housing loans and EMI calculators," says Bobby.
Dinakaran is mulling to increase the number of pages of the pullout to 16 in view of the "immense response" received by the concept.