As part of the publications' plans to consolidate its position in eastern India, The Statesman is planning to launch its edition in Orissa very soon. Currently, the 126-year-old newspaper is available in Delhi, Kolkata and Siliguri. Though the date for the Orissa launch has not been decided yet, it should hit the newsstands in the state in the next two to three months. While the editorial mix of the paper is in place, The Statesman is yet to take a decision on the supplements that would accompany the main paper. So far as the price is concerned, it would be the same as the other editions - Rs 2.
In the meanwhile, The Statesman plans to beef up its coverage of Assam. Come March, the paper will have more local news to cater to the readers of the state. Efforts to improve the paper's content actually began last December when the publication added two more supplements to its existing ones - Kolkata Plus for more local news on the city, and Bengal Plus, which comes with the The Statesman edition sold outside Kolkata. Both the supplements come Mondays through Saturdays.
Another interesting recent development is The Statesman's tie-up with leading business daily Business Standard. Under the new arrangement, Business Standard provides the content for the business pages of The Statesman. In fact, it comes as a four-page pink-paper pullout with the Business Standard masthead.
Explaining the reason for the tie-up, Adrian Da Cunha, who joined The Statesman on February 7 as general manager, advertising & marketing services, Kolkata, says, "As a political paper we are top of mind. However, we realised our business section was weak. So we decided to tie-up with Business Standard." But doesn't the Business Standard masthead on the four business pages undercut the equity of The Statesman? "No," replies Da Cunha. "It is the age of collaboration. While we are perceived as a very strong political paper, a good business section will make readers spend more time on the paper." He adds, with the beefed up business section, the paper expects to capture 'the mercantile class' and 'an affluent young readership'.
Indeed, getting a business-savvy readership on board will also help The Statesman woo a bigger chunk of advertisers who are keen to reach out to this target group. Says Da Cunha, "My brief is to get more advertisers. For that to happen, The Statesman has to connect better with the advertisers and the readers at the same time. The right way to connect with the readers is through good content and we are doing that. Now to get advertisers we have to show them the right opportunity to advertise. With the football season coming up, there will be a lot of such opportunities."
Apart from this, the publication is focussing on improving on-stand sales by making sure the stock out is more and distribution is on time. All these changes are aimed at staying abreast of competition, which is hotting up by the day. While The Statesman leads its competitors in readership figures in the eastern states, it has a bit of catching up to do in terms of circulation numbers. According to the IRS Round 8 figures for July 2000-to June 2001, the readership figure of The Statesman for weekdays stands at 8,19,000 and on Sundays it is 1.2 million. This is slightly better than its closed competitor, The Telegraph, whose weekday readership figures is 7,72,000 and on Sundays it is 1.16 million. However, the circulation figure of The Telegraph is higher. While The Telegraph's circulation stands at 2.7 lakh, The Statesman's circulation figure is 1.75 lakh (January-June 2001).
With his plans in place, Da Cunha is hoping things would look up at The Statesman in no time. © 2002 agencyfaqs!