Post acquisition, Jagran to get aggressive on Mid-Day Gujarati and Inquilab

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 10, 2010
The media company also hopes to give a push to its outdoor business following the deal

Jagran Prakashan (JPL), which recently took over Mid-Day Multimedia's print business, has some aggressive plans up its sleeves, which RK Agarwal, chief financial officer, JPL shared with afaqs! in an exclusive interview.

& #BANNER1 & #

First, JPL plans to expand the Urdu daily, Inquilab, across markets where the group's Hindi daily Dainik Jagran is present. In fact, Agarwal seems quite confident that there is a strong viability of the newspaper working in its present form and cover price. The newspaper currently has 16 pages and is priced high at Rs 5 per copy.

"Inquilab has lots of potential to be monetised in the markets where we are present, right from J&K to West Bengal," says Agarwal.

In fact, Agarwal is confident enough to add that Inquilab by itself is capable of generating the entire value that JPL has paid for this acquisition.

According to him, the Urdu paper is a profitable proposition which is not dependent on advertisement but circulation revenue, and this fits 'very well' with the strategy of JPL to expand organically in Indian languages. "Inquilab is like a sitting duck and we are confident that the moment we expand its presence in our present markets, it will add a significant amount to the company's balance sheets. If Inquilab adds Rs 10 crore to the bottom line of JPL, it would mean a value addition of Rs 200 crore," says Agarwal.

Second, JPL's objective is to make Mid-Day Gujarati a formidable No. 2 Gujarati daily in Mumbai, "that can give JPL decent revenues from the city".

For Mid-Day English, the group has decided to focus mainly on Mumbai and Pune editions, which are doing well. As for Mid-Day Delhi and Bengaluru, the company may look at downsizing the operations as it feels that Delhi and Bengaluru are not favourable markets for afternoon slots.

However, for Mid-Day English, JPL hopes to increase the share of corporate advertising, which is minuscule at the moment. With this, JPL hopes that it may increase Mid-Day's revenue by many folds.

Meanwhile, while Tariq Ansari will continue to be on the board of directors, other management structures will undergo some corrective measures. However, JPL has no plans of touching the positioning of the paper, rather it plans to further strengthen it.

"Mid-Day's audience is a very crucial and important segment, in fact that is one of the reasons why we took over the English paper business," affirms Agarwal.

Also, there will be more synergy of content and business between i-next, City Plus and Mid-Day. Going forward, the Bollywood content of Mid-Day, which at the moment is shared by i-next only, will be open for other brands of Jagran as well.

Given the fact that JPL does not have an access to the retail market of Mumbai, through Mid-Day Mulitmedia, it will be compensated, which will help it in accelerating the growth of City Plus and the outdoor business of the group. "Currently we have outdoor business coming from the agencies only. We have many outdoor properties in Mumbai but we hardly get any retail business, which is very big in that market.