Rajasthan Patrika gears up to enter Jabalpur

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 07, 2009
With its Jabalpur edition, Rajasthan Patrika expands its footprints in Dainik Bhaskar's home turf

Rajasthan Patrika is all set to expand its footprint across Madhya Pradesh (MP) by launching the third edition in the state, which is also the home turf of Dainik Bhaskar. The Hindi daily is soon launching an edition in Jabalpur.

Rajasthan Patrika entered the state in May 2008 with its Bhopal edition and soon launched an edition in Indore. The newspaper dropped 'Rajasthan' from its name when it entered MP last year and is now known as Patrika. The publication has editions in Ahmedabad, Surat, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hubli and Chennai. In addition, it has 12 editions in Rajasthan.

& #BANNER1 & #According to industry sources, the Jabalpur edition is being rolled out by the team led by Kailash Agrawal. His team handles the Satna and Nagpur editions, too.

Without sharing the date of the launch, Arvind Kalia, national head, marketing, Patrika Group, says, "It will be difficult to give a specific date for the launch but the groundwork operations are on and the launch can be expected very soon. The preparations are at the final stages and our teams are already busy conducting market surveys. Most of the manpower of all the departments is in place."

In Jabalpur, Patrika will face competition from Dainik Bhaskar, People's Samachar, Haribhoomi, Raj Express and Nai Dunia. Jabalpur is an interesting market for the newspapers as it has more than 10 lakh population. Also, it is the legal headquarter of the state, with the high court located in the city, making it a preferred choice for publications.

According to industry experts, Patrika is expected to make a hyped launch in the city. The city specific supplements of Patrika have been its strong points. Though Bhaskar, too, has city supplements, "it has been running the show for so long that some degree of fatigue has set in, making room for Patrika," says an industry expert.

Whenever Patrika has entered a new market, it has either aimed for the No.1 or the No. 2 slot and for this edition, the group has roped in seasoned people who played key roles in the launches of the Ahmedabad and Alwar editions of the group.

The print run of the newspaper is expected to be at par with, if not more than, its competitors in the region. The group has set up a printing centre in Jabalpur and the new edition is expected to cover seven-eight districts. According to Kalia, the competition in the region of Jabalpur is monopolistic, "and the easiest thing to break in this free world is monopoly".

About the strategy likely to be followed by Patrika, AS Raghunath, media consultant, says, "Patrika has been very aggressive in its launch since the moment it entered MP. Going by its performance in the two cities, Bhopal and Indore, it should make an impact in Jabalpur as well. It will be easier now that it has two well-established editions in MP."

Nikhil Rangnekar, executive director, India-West, Starcom Worldwide is of the opinion that it does not really matter where the newspaper has originated from or which is the prime market for that paper. "Bhaskar cannot keep the competition out from its home market. If the consumers get something new and better, they will opt for that."

About the pricing, he believes that whenever a newspaper enters a new market, pricing plays an important role. "The paper will try all entry strategies, with pricing playing a key element in this launch."

Talking about the significance of the Jabalpur market for the group, Kalia adds, "Jabalpur is significant as it belongs to the second Bhaskar Group. With this launch, Patrika will become a major player in MP, having its editions from the three biggest and most prominent cities in the state."

He further adds that Bhopal and Indore combined get about 75 per cent of the ad spends in MP and once the Jabalpur edition is included, it will cover the areas that attracts more than 80 per cent of ad spends in the state.

With its team already in place, the group has amassed significant subscription orders. Kalia informs that Patrika has followed "daring editorial policies, which according to him, has been missing in the papers based in MP".

Patrika claims to have entered the state with the Bhopal edition with a print run of 1,50,000 copies in May; within four months, it reached 2,63,000 copies.

For its second launch in the state at Indore, the group had deployed a survey team of more than 450 members, covering the city to gauge the potential of the new market. The team was divided into eight zones, which helped in charting out readers' preferences and expectations, locating areas of dissatisfaction and creating brand awareness. About 4.25 lakh households and business establishments were contacted for this exercise in Indore.

Based on the findings of the survey, the edition was launched with fluid and visual layout to stand apart from the existing players in the market.

The group adopted a series of marketing activities for the launch of the Indore edition, including various BTL (below-the-line) and ATL (above the line) activities; ambient media in malls, restaurants and outdoor including hoardings, canopies, camel road shows, motorbike rallies, games activities at malls, human banners and vehicle branding, radio spots and cinema slides at cineplexes were used.