After spending a year in Bengaluru, DNA increases subscription fee

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing
Last updated : December 15, 2009
The annual subscription now costs Rs 724, as against Rs 299 earlier; and DNA is confident of its performance in the market

DNA's Bengaluru edition celebrated its first anniversary on December 14. The paper came out with a 68-page anniversary issue, including four pull-outs. Apart from the regular Money (4 pages) and After Hrs (8 pages), the special issue had a 24-page Anniversary Special pullout, called 'The New Bangalore'; and another 12-page pull-out titled 'Top50 - The Influentials'.

According to KU Rao, chief executive officer, DNA, "The paper has performed exceptionally well in Bengaluru and has grown to the position of No. 2 in terms of circulation."

DNA claims to have launched the edition with 1.20 lakh copies and has added 55,000 more in the past year. The total circulation of DNA Bengaluru stands at 1.75 lakh copies, as per the claimed figures.

Bengaluru has as many as eight English dailies - DNA, Deccan Herald, Bangalore Mirror, The Hindu (National edition), The New Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, The Times of India (TOI) and Mid-Day - catering to 14 lakh households and 70 lakh readers.

Deccan Chronicle was launched in May 2008, six months prior to DNA's launch in the city. According to the claimed figures, the circulation of Deccan Chronicle also stands somewhere between 1.5-1.75 lakh copies.

However, DNA still has a long way to go when it comes to ad rates. The market leader commands a rate of Rs 1,800 per sq cm while DNA gets around Rs 500 per sq cm.

DNA entered the market with an annual subscription price of Rs 299, which it has now increased to the full cover price subscription of Rs 724. Rao says that the brand is not afraid of implementing a steep increase of Rs 425 in annual subscriptions, as "There is a pull for the paper and we stand on solid ground now. Our increasing the subscription sales price demonstrates the confidence readers have in us."

However, Sriram Sharma, general manager, Bengaluru, Starcom Worldwide, is not so sure. He says, "Chances are that the steep increase in the consumer subscription sales will have an adverse affect on its future subscription. Especially when Deccan Chronicle has launched a Rs 99 subscription drive recently."

When DNA was launched, it had indulged in a heavy door-to-door marketing strategy, with 300 agents reaching out to 6,000 homes everyday. Though the paper has increased its subscription charges; the cover price is unchanged at Rs 2, as is the average number of pages, at 26 pages per issue. Rao adds that the Bengaluru edition has a larger number of retail clients, as compared to other editions of the newspaper.

The paper comes out with three supplements in Bengaluru - Money Bangalore and After Hrs Bangalore are daily offerings; while DNA Property is a weekly offering. In comparison, TOI, which entered the city in 1984, comes out with weekly Property Special and Education supplements. On Mondays and Fridays, TOI has Ascent; and apart from these, it also carries other national supplements.

Sharma explains, "DNA's approach to the market is slightly better than the others. The deals they offer, coupled with the value-additions offered by them, are more forthcoming than what a TOI would have on offer. But since the newspaper has not yet been covered by IRS or any other certification, we will have to wait and watch the real impact."

"Prior to DNA, advertisers had just two English dailies to negotiate with. But with DNA and Deccan Chronicle entering the market, things are changing. In fact, the market leader has started emphasising on exclusive deals, which means 'it's either us or we are out of the plan'. This shows that it is feeling the pinch," says a senior media analyst.

DNA's anniversary special supplement, The New Bangalore, looked at various aspects that make Bengaluru a global city. Throughout the special edition, experts mapped this contrast, as they explored the strides the city is poised to take in the next five years.

In another supplement, called Top50 - The Influentials, the who's who of the city were reviewed by their peer, rival, spouse, or close acquaintance. "The Top50 initiative by DNA has been well received by the market," adds Sharma.

First Published : December 15, 2009

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