The Sandesh Media Group, publishers of the Gujarati daily Sandesh, has launched a weekly newspaper titled Agro Sandesh, on July 04. The tabloid is dedicated to the agro and allied industries of Gujarat.
The new agricultural weekly has a cover price of Rs 6 per copy, with an annual subscription of Rs 275. Launched with an initial print run of 3 lakh copies, the company aims to touch 5 lakh copies by the end of September, 2011.
Apart from this, Agro Sandesh will also carry information about various central and state government schemes, agricultural technology, and the export of agricultural produce.
In an official communique, Falgun Patel, chairman and managing director, Sandesh, says, "Agro Sandesh will contribute positively to the development of Gujarat's farmers. Agro Sandesh will cater to all the information needs of the farmers, as well as information which will facilitate them to go global."
The group began working on the tabloid six months back. "As part of our social responsibility, we thought that it made absolute sense, especially from the farmers' perspective, as not enough coverage is given to their requirements and relevance in the daily newspapers," says Patel.
The group carried out a survey in Gujarat at various agriculture exhibitions, to gauge the need for such a newspaper. Apart from this, a few advertisers and agencies were also surveyed to gather feedback on the need for an agriculture-specific product.
"We believed that advertisers would be interested in an ever-expanding, but focussed audience (rural and semi-urban farmers with high purchasing power), and will therefore, certainly welcome the idea as a great advertising vehicle," adds Patel.
As far as the distribution strategy is concerned, the group is using the existing network of Sandesh's agents, and new agents are being appointed where there are none. Interestingly, the group is tying up with shopkeepers, who deal in multiple agricultural commodities.
The weekly will be published from Ahmedabad, and will be distributed across 26 districts, 226 talukas and 18,000 villages. Distribution hubs for the new product will be the group's centres in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Bhuj.
To promote the weekly, the company is extensively using Sandesh to carry out its ads. It also plans to organise events for farmers and related communities, in the future.
For the record, the Gujarati daily Sandesh was started in 1923. The daily is now published from five centres, including Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.