At the Prabha Sakshi headquarters in Noida (Uttar Pradesh) things are in fast-forward motion. People are running in and out of their rooms. The phones are ringing madly. The receptionist is on the brink of losing her sanity. The wastebasket is choking with papers. From the office boy to the director, everybody is in a nervous frenzy.The countdown has begun.
Prabha Sakshi, new Hindi daily promoted by Gautam Murarkar of Dwarikesh Sugar Industries, is slated for launch on January 14, 2002, in Delhi, parts of western Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttaranchal. The print order for Day One is 41,000 copies, of which 10,000 are secured (assured subscription) copies. Prabha Sakshi, which plans to carry national news, will cater to the markets of UP, Uttranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to begin with. However, soon the publication will fan out to other areas of the Hindi-speaking belt - Rajasthan, Patna, Lucknow and parts of Madhya Pradesh.
The price of the daily is on par with other Hindi dailies servicing these markets currently. All these papers follow a dual pricing strategy. On days when these publications have supplements the price is Rs 3; on other days they are sold at Rs 2. To give an idea of how the other Hindi dailies are priced, Punjab Kesari has two supplements that come out on Thursdays and Sundays; on those two days it sells at Rs 3. On other days it is priced at Rs 2. Similarly, Dainik Jagran's supplements come out on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; accordingly, on these days it sells at Rs 3; on other days of the week it sells at Rs 2. Same is the case with Hindustan, Navbharat Times and Rashtriya Sahara. Following the same tradition, Prabha Sakshi will sell at Rs 2, Monday through Saturday, and at Rs 3 on Sundays.
The obvious question is: With the economy in the doldrums and ad revenues of even the big media houses on a downslide, is there place for one more Hindi newspaper? For one, Shailesh, executive editor, Prabha Sakshi, seems upbeat about the daily's prospects. "Prabha Sakshi is not competing with the existing national Hindi dailies, but with the 24-hour Hindi news channels."
So what is Prabha Sakshi's strategy to fight established news channel? Answers Dinesh Chand Srivastava, CEO, Prabha Sakshi, "Most of the papers publish the same news that is flashed on TV. There is nothing extra being offered to readers. Moreover, on TV the entire story has to be told in 90 seconds or 120 seconds. That is, in approximately 200-300 words. Except for visuals, I don't think TV has any other advantage over the print medium. I would say it is a 'hollow' medium. That is where Prabha Sakshi will step in. It plans to give reader in-depth information and an idea about what's happening behind the scene."
Citing the examples of the US-based USA TODAY and London newspaper the Independent, Shailesh says, "These are relatively new papers. Both entered fiercely competitive markets and made their presence felt. Their strategy was bang on. They ushered in a new style of writing. We would follow the same strategy."
In particular, the publication brass feels, there are three areas where nothing much has been done. First, no Hindi daily targets readers in the 15-35 years age bracket. Second, no newspaper targets the SEC A and B group, and third, women and children are grossly neglected by both English and Hindi dailies. Prabha Sakshi attempts to bridge this gap with its in-depth content and wide coverage. The general feel of the paper is going to be different too. In Shailesh's words, it aims to be a "daily detective" with a tilt towards science and technology news.
Thus, SEC A and B readers comprise the core target for the publication. "This is also the core audience of Aaj Tak," says Shailesh. The first and the last page of the newspaper will be in colour. The Sunday edition will carry a four-page supplement called Ravivar with the first and the last page again in colour. The last page of the newspaper from Monday to Saturday titled Jeevan (life) would assume the role of a supplement. The theme for Jeevan for the six days of the week would be career, spiritual discourses (Aadhyatma), health (Apna Swasth), agriculture (Apna Krishi), technology and a section dedicated to women and children (Apna Sansar). While the main Sunday edition will feature movies on its last page, the Sunday supplement's first and last pages would be titled 'Bollywood' and 'Telewood'.
Well the job's only half done without getting the message across. Prabha Sakshi has appointed two ad agencies Delhi-based Confluence Communication and Rashtriya Advertising Agency to create excitement around its launch. The ad campaign is expected to break on January 12. Hindi news channels such as Aaj Tak and DD News and radio channel Vividh Bharti are being used for the purpose. Hoardings and kiosks too would be used in big way as part of the outdoor activities.
While the mass media advertising will be done through Confluence, the outdoor strategy will be devised by Rashtriya. The size of the advertising account handled by the two agencies together is estimated at Rs 50 lakh for the first three months of the launch. However, the break up of the business between the two agencies is yet to be finalised.
Top marketing executives at Prabha Sakshi claim the newspaper has got a positive response from the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and confectionary advertisers to whom they have pitched their new product. But for obvious reasons, Srivastava is reluctant to share names. As for the future of the publication, "…if all goes well the publication is targeting a print run of 65,000 copies by next year," says a very excited Srivastava.
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