afaqs!

Digital is the way forward, feels Mid-Day on its 30th anniversary

By Dhaleta Surender Kumar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 29, 2009
As Mid-Day celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 27, it looks forward to strengthening its online presence

As Mid-Day, the afternooner that started on June 27, 1971 from Mumbai, celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday, it aims to consolidate its digital presence in the online and mobile arenas.

Even though the online version - www.mid-day.com - is functional, marketing initiatives will pick up pace only in July. The website will be positioned on the lines of its offline version to 'Make work fun'. Like its parent publication, Mid-day.com will be targeted at office executives to utilise their breaks during work. "Not everyone has access to Mid-Day the tabloid, so Mid-day.com steps in to fill that gap. Everyone needs breaks to have some bit of fun during work. Mid-day.com will be positioned as that break," says Neville Bastawalla, head, marketing, Mid-Day Infomedia.

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According to him, Mid-day.com, as per Google Analytics' figures, got about 83 lakh page views in the month of June (till June 26, 2009). "We are also sending out news alerts on mobile phones and there are already more than 1.25 lakh subscribers to that," he adds.

Meanwhile, as a celebration of its 30th anniversary, the June 26 (Friday) issue of Mid-Day in Mumbai had 200 pages. The issue had a cover price of Rs 10. The Delhi and Bengaluru editions, with a cover price of Rs 3, had more than 90 pages; and the Pune edition, with a cover price of Rs 5 (usually Rs 3), had 88 pages.

"The anniversary issue amplifies all of Mid-Day's strengths, - bringing the best in Bollywood and sports, to the most happening news, places and deals in the city. It's the perfect entertaining break for our readers and we hope they enjoy reading it as much as we've enjoyed putting it together," says Abhijit Majumder, executive editor, Mid-Day Infomedia.

Adds Manajit Ghoshal, chief executive officer, Mid-Day Infomedia, "With innovative marketing and informative, entertaining editorial, Mid-Day has, over its 30 years of existence, consolidated its position as urban India's favourite afternoon break, amplifying its mission of 'Making work fun' amongst the YUMPI (Young Urban Mobile Professionals across India). The anniversary issue is another effort from the group to delight readers and add value to advertisers."

The specials had sections such as 'India 9 to 5: Our Cities at Work', '30 Other Lives' and 'Bare Bollywood'. India 9 to 5 had pictures shot by some renowned photographers in 10 cities - Kochi, Pune, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.

The section will go offline with exhibitions of these photographs being held in various cities. Also, a photo contest, too, is in the offing, where contestants can send in their pictures of their 'take on their city'. The photographs will be published in Mid-Day. A coffee table book consisting of these photographs will be launched soon.

Till four years ago, Mid-Day had a smooth sail in Mumbai, with only Times of India (a morninger) for competition. However, with the advent of Hindustan Times and DNA in Mumbai, the going got tough for Mid-Day. It was forced to rethink its strategies and branch out.

Hence, the Bengaluru edition was launched in 2006, followed by editions in Delhi in 2007 and Pune in 2008. It also stopped home distribution altogether and focused entirely on corporate executives by distributing the afternooner directly in the offices. "Earlier, about 8-10 per cent of the entire circulation used to go to homes," says Bastawalla.

While it was always consumed by the youth, the competition forced it to reinforce and spell out its audience. Hence came the term YUMPI (Young Urban Mobile Professionals across India), which the paper felt was its core audience.

Mid-Day claims to have an estimated circulation of 3.65 lakh copies (two lakh copies in Mumbai; 65,000 in Bengaluru; 75,000 in Delhi; and 25,000 in Pune). It also claims to have a total readership of more than 17.5 lakh (non IRS figures). "We are an out-of-home newspaper, and readership surveys do not capture our readership well. We have requested MRUC to put in a question to gauge the out-of-home readership as well," says Bastawalla.

Mid-Day has no plans to come out with any new editions in the near future. "The way the world and technology are moving, digital is the way ahead. We, for the time being, are concentrating on the digital platform," Bastawalla reiterates.