afaqs!

Patrika to enter Gwalior by March end

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 04, 2010
With this edition, Patrika will complete its plans for Madhya Pradesh, and head towards Chhattisgarh

Patrika Group is all set to launch its Gwalior edition. This will be the group's sixth edition in Madhya Pradesh, and with this, the group will complete its plans for the state.

The Gwalior edition of Patrika is expected to roll out by March end. According to sources close to the development, the group is carrying out a market survey and establishing the infrastructure for the edition. Most of the manpower for the edition is in place. The daily will also have its printing facility in the city.

& #BANNER1 & #

The cover price of Patrika in Gwalior is yet to be decided; the group will take a call on that after the market survey is completed.

In Madhya Pradesh, Patrika's first edition was launched in Bhopal. Later, editions were also launched in Jabalpur, Indore, Ujjain and Ratlam.

The population of Gwalior is in the range of 5-8 lakh, of which about 2.8 lakh comprises the Hindi readership. "Gwalior is an important city for Patrika, as it completes the Golden Triangle of MP. Also, the market size of the city is around Rs 20-25 crore, which will help us strengthen our hold in the state," says the source.

Besides Dainik Bhaskar - which Patrika sees as its only competition in the city - the other prominent players in Gwalior include Nava Bharat, Raj Express and Nai Dunia. Interestingly, Gwalior is still a Hindi newspaper dominated market, and English dailies have not managed to make a mark yet.

The source adds that its editorial team is studying the layout and content of the competitor; and depending on the outcome, it will decide the layout of Patrika's front page. The rest of the paper will be in sync with the style followed by the other editions of Patrika in the state.

RS Suriyanarayanan, media director, LMG, says, "Hindi publications' readership comprises around a third of the total population; there is a lot of scope for expansion. There is tremendous scope for going beyond the present readership figures. At the moment, it is a monopolistic market, with Dainik Bhaskar being almost triple the size of the second publication, which is a close tie between Nai Dunia and Raj Express, in terms of readership."

"Dainik Bhaskar boasts of healthy numbers; and there is a huge gap between the No. 1 and No. 2 players. Therefore, Patrika should aim to enter the market to grab the second position and become a sizeable second paper. Also, cover pricing strategy could be one of the strategic points for Patrika, as it will help them in immediate conversions and trials," he adds.

The group expects to generate 80 per cent of its advertising revenue from the retail clients for the edition, with educational institutions being the biggest contributors. "Gwalior is very big in terms of education; and this being the admission season for educational institutions, the advertisements from them will be pretty heavy. Other important clients will be political personalities and parties, automobiles and mobile phones," informs the source.

The daily will adapt a traditional distribution strategy for the new launch and has appointed four to five agents for the city. Since Patrika plans to take over Dainik Bhaskar from Day 1, its circulation is expected to be around that of Bhaskar's.

Patrika will initially start with a 14-16 page edition, apart from city-specific supplements, which has been Patrika's strong point in other centres. The details of the supplements are yet to be finalised.

According to another expert, Gwalior is a strategic location and an important market in the northern belt of the state. "If a paper wants to strengthen its position in North MP, they have to have an edition here with a lot of spillover from Uttar Pradesh."

Now that the group has completed its initial plans for Madhya Pradesh, it plans to enter Chattisgarh; and Raipur is expected to be its next destination. If everything goes as per plan, the Raipur edition should get launched by the end of 2010.