Haribhoomi, the Haryana-based news daily, is in a combative mood. By 2003, the Hindi newspaper hopes to occupy the position of a "healthy number No 2" in the state, and give a real good fight to Dainik Bhaskar which has a circulation of two lakh plus in its hometown. The idea is to "shake up" the markets of northern Haryana and Chandigarh over the next one year or so.
To this end, the news daily plans roll a clutch of new editions. Beginning with the main edition in Panchkula (which is on the border of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh) in mid-2003, the group plans to launch three regional editions covering Ambala, Yamuna Nagar, and a combined edition for Kurukshetra and Karnal. The company brass believes these editions will give a tremendous boost to the circulation figures of Haribhoomi in Haryana. Setting up a press in Panchkula is also in the pipeline.
Currently, besides the main edition of Haryana, Haribhoomi has three regional editions - Rohtak, Sonepat and Hissar. The current circulation of Haribhoomi in Haryana is 57,063 (ABC January-June 2001). If seen from this context, giving Bhaskar a run for its money looks mighty ambitious.
However, without this over-riding ambition, Haribhoomi would not have made it to where it is today. Haribhoomi was launched on September 5, 1996, in Rohtak (Haryana) as a Hindi weekly by two friends Captain Abhimanyu Sindhu and Dr Kulbir Chhikara. It used to come out on Mondays with a print run of 2,000 to 3,000 copies. When the circulation went up to 15,000-20,000 copies, the owners decided to convert it into a daily. That was in 1997 (December 5).
What was unusual about the birth of Haribhoomi was that the duo chose the relatively small and innocuous market of Rohtak as their launch pad. "I come from Rohtak and I always felt there was a vacuum in the newspaper industry there. All the newspapers that are available in Rohtak are either from Delhi or from Chandigarh and had very little in terms of news from Haryana itself. My friend Chhikara (executive editor, Haribhoomi) and I decided to plug this gap with Haribhoomi. As a business venture the project seemed to have ample potential," says Sindhu, chief editor, Haribhoomi.
The early days of Haribhoomi were fraught with difficulties. "You would not believe it, but even after scouting the whole state of Haryana we could not find more than five competent journalists. It was not easy to find computer operators either. So we decided to train the people we hired. It was our dream project and we were determined to make it work," adds Sindhu excitedly.
After Rohtak, Haribhoomi targeted the market of Chhattisgarh. "The most important lesson we learnt from our experience in Rohtak is that a single edition with corporate advertisements is not viable. So we decided to consider the idea of launching multiple editions seriously," says Sindhu.
In quick succession it launched two main editions in Bilaspur (March 2001) and Raipur (October 2002) and eight regional editions (five for Raipur and three for Bilaspur). While the circulation figure for Bilaspur is 53,795 (ABC January-June 2002), that of Raipur will only come in the next round of ABC.
Currently, the only competition to Haribhoomi in Chhattisgarh is Navbharat, which enjoys a circulation of 1.77 lakh. This makes Haribhoomi officials quite optimistic about its prospects in that state. "We are the only Hindi daily which has eight separate regional editions," points out SS Kataria, general manager, marketing, Haribhoomi.
Haribhoomi is also eying the rural belt adjoining Delhi. While it has an edition in the Nangloi-Najafgarh area currently, the publication plans to launch another to cover the Gurgaon, Riwadi and Mahindergarh area within the next three to four months. To cut down on the load on the two presses in Rohtak, the company plans to set up one in Delhi.
What is indeed very interesting is that Haribhoomi has made it this far spending next to nothing on advertising. "Recognition came gradually but came without advertising efforts, thanks largely to the quality we offer. It is our editorial quality that has helped us widen our readership base; it has also led some high profile national advertisers - such as LG Electronics, Bajaj Auto, Hero Honda, Electrolux, Videocon etc - to seek us out to spread their message," says Kataria.
And if all goes well, the publication expects a 100 per cent growth in its revenue this year over the pervious fiscal. © 2002 agencyfaqs!