Amar Ujala to extend its footprint in Haryana

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 24, 2010
It will launch two editions: Rohtak in Haryana and Noida in UP. The Noida edition will also cater to Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewal and Palwal in Haryana.

The No. 4 daily of the country (as per IRS 2010 Q3), Amar Ujala has aggressive plans for the year 2011. The group is planning to extend its footprint in the state of Haryana with the launch of two editions - Rohtak in Haryana and Noida in UP.

The Noida edition -- which is slated for launch on February 05, 2011 -- will also cater to the cities of Haryana that fall under the National Capital Region (NCR), including Faridabad, Gurgaon, Mewal and Palwal. The existing Chandigarh edition, coupled with the Rohtak edition -- which will be launched in September 2011 -- will complete the group's presence in Haryana.

The Group is aiming for a combined print run of 2 lakh copies for the state. It is yet to decide the cover price of both editions, but according to Sunil Mutreja, president, Amar Ujala Publications, "They will be competitively priced, in sync with the cover prices of the existing Hindi players in the state." On an average, Hindi dailies in Haryana bear a cover price of Rs 2.50.

Apart from the flagship publication, Amar Ujala, the group plans to expand the presence of its tabloid, Compact in Uttar Pradesh. The daily, which is present in Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut and Bareilly, will finally be launched in the state capital, Lucknow.

However, unlike most other cities, where Compact bears a cover price of Re 1, it will be priced at Rs 2 in Lucknow. According to Mutreja, this is because "the minimum commission given by us to the hawker in Lucknow is Rs. 1.20 for each copy, unlike other cities of the state, where it is 50 paise."

Compact will use the same printing facility as used by Amar Ujala in the state capital. As per the latest quarter of IRS, Compact has a total readership of 16.95 lakh in the state, 1.54 lakh more than Inext.

Talking about the overall performance of the group, Mutreja says that Amar Ujala Publications has seen a growth of 26 per cent this year in revenue and the EBIDA will be around Rs 120 crore for this financial year.

For the record, Amar Ujala had added 7.56 lakh readers in IRS 2010 Q3. The Hindi daily had lost about 3 lakh readers in 2010 Q1, but had compensated for the loss by adding 2.62 lakh readers in 2010 Q2. Its total readership now stands at 2.97 crore.

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