Deccan Chronicle, the south-based English daily, is getting ready to take on The Times of India (TOI) head on in Kerala. In order to strengthen its footing before the TOI takes off in the state, it has launched its first edition from Kochi, with an initial print order of 25,000 copies. The English daily bears a cover price of Rs 2.50.
To promote the edition, the group distributed free sample copies for a period of three days. Once the three-day period from the launch date is over, readers need to confirm the subscription at regular rates of Rs 2.50 per copy to continue receiving the newspaper.
Value for money packages for advertisers is also being deployed to enable trial advertising. "After that, when an advertiser likes the business results from the advertising, they could commit serious money. That will probably be as true of Kochi as it has been in the other markets," says Shukla. He adds that Deccan Chronicle's entry into Kerala will help expand the total pie of English newspapers there.
The newly launched edition will carry the usual supplements such as a daily city tabloid, and the TV and Entertainment Guide on Saturdays, apart from the Sunday Chronicle, which will be distributed in Kochi.
Deccan Chronicle targets the same group as the TOI - people who know English and have young minds, of any chronological age or gender.
When asked if the latest launch is part of Deccan Chronicle's strategy to strengthen the brand's footing in order to tackle competition from the TOI in the South, Shukla says, "Competition is inevitable and healthy in a free market and it will always be there. Classically, the way to retain leadership and grow as a leader is to keep your focus on the readers and help towards the growth of the market, leaving it to the other players to keep their focus on attacking you or adopting guerrilla tactics, depending on what they decide is appropriate for their size. This is broadly true of the newspaper space as well."