For Rajasthan Patrika, the Hindi daily published out of 11 cities (nine coming out of the state of Rajasthan, one from Bangalore and a recent one from Ahmedabad, Gujarat), 28 October 2002 was a crucial day. The paper launched its twelfth edition at the Hotel Man Singh Palace in Ajmer at 11.00 am with the guest of honour being Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Union Minister for Human Resources. Also on the list of invitees, was the Governor of Rajasthan, Anshuman Singh, who presided over the function.
The most important aspect of the launch is the fact that Patrika entered a market, where it has traditionally had a "loose footing". Says Amitabh Sharma, Patrika's marketing manager in Mumbai, "The Jaipur edition has been feeding Ajmer so far and it was time we launched a separate edition from there. Ajmer is the most literate city in Rajasthan and we simply had to capitalise on it."
Priced at Rs 1.50, a full rupee less than the normal price of a Patrika, the launch issue of the Ajmer edition consists of 40 pages with the subsequent issues anywhere between 14 to 24 pages. "The Ajmer edition also has six colour pages in the main issue as opposed to the standard of four colour pages in other editions of Patrika or even in rival papers for that matter. Let me tell you that our Jaipur edition is the only paper in the lot apart from Ajmer that has six colour pages in the main issue since the start of this month," he adds.
The Ajmer edition was launched with a print run of 35,000 copies with the content skewed towards local developments. "There is a full-fledged editorial team based in Ajmer, but overall, operations will be overlooked by Gulab Kothari, editor and managing director of Patrika," he adds.
The group is targeting a circulation figure of 40,000 to 45,000 copies, which it hopes to achieve in the next one year (overall circulation of Patrika is 6.04 lakh, according to ABC for the period January to June 2002). "A three-month rigourous survey conducted by us drove home the point that people in Ajmer are still missing out on a quality paper. Thus, we have attempted to tailor-make the product to suit reader interest, " he reiterates.
Despite formidable players such as Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Navjoti (the first publication from the city), Sharma is optimistic that the paper will be able to eclipse competition. "We've had a legacy of being a strong editorial product, which will hold us in good stead in Ajmer as well," he states.
Besides, a sizeable English-speaking population in the city that has flourished under the aegis of convent educational institutions (apart from the Rajasthan Educational Board) has ensured that Patrika will be targeting this segment through the launch of its bi-weekly English supplement, Turning Point in the near future. "This segment cannot be ignored and we are putting in every bit of effort to address their needs," he adds. © 2002 agencyfaqs!
Rajasthan Patrika to launch Ahmedabad edition