The Times of India, Delhi, goes colour

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 18, 2003
Bennett, Coleman & Co, which has spent Rs 100 crore on new machinery, plans to splurge another Rs 50 crore to support the colour initiative.

India's No 1 English daily, The Times of India (ToI), goes full colour in Delhi today.

To register its new look in the minds of its readers, Bennett, Coleman & Co, which owns the paper, plans to paint the town red. It will be using radio, print and outdoors to announce the makeover to Delhiites. A whopping Rs 25 crore, which is 50 per cent of the company's promotion
budget for the year, has been earmarked for this activity.

Bennett, Coleman executives say the decision to go colour was based on feedback from the market. "The movement is always from black and white to colour," points out Rahul Kansal, brand director, ToI. "Television is a living example. Also, colour advertising is growing three times more than black and white advertising," he continues. "Advertisers want to showcase their products in its full glory. Many a times the character of the brand is lost in black and white because colour is integral to its identity. In that sense, this is like clearing the grey clouds in the sky and bringing in that ray of sunshine for the readers."

ToI, which currently has editions in Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Patna, hopes to turn the other metro editions into colour soon.

With the coming of colour, placing ads in the Delhi edition will be slightly more expensive now. As Kansal puts it, "The new rates will be between the existing black and white and the premium rates. However, for a 100-day period, starting January 18, colour ads will cost the same as black and white." The group does not intent to tinker with the price of the paper though. "That is most unlikely to happen," avers Kansal. Currently, the Monday to Saturday edition is priced at Rs 1.50, while the Sunday edition costs Rs 2.

Now the question is, what was the need for the paper, which is already No 1, to go colour? Is colour just nice or plain necessary? Opinions vary among media planners, while mostly they agree with Kansal that going colour is all about natural progression.

Interestingly, colour-versus-black-and-white happens to be one of the hotly debated issues in the newspaper circles internationally. Among the many issues discussed at the World Newspaper Congress 2001 (held under the aegis of WAN or World Association of Newspapers) was the relative merits colour and black and white. Here a quick look at two contrasting viewpoints from the presentations made at the 8th World Editors' Forum 2001 (as reported in the WAN website) may be worthwhile.

Speaking for colour at the 2001 forum, Quim Regas, director, Cases y Associates, Spain, had said, "… Colour improves the relationship with the reader." He predicted, "…full colour is something that will come into far greater use in the near future… Colour says, 'read me.' It doesn't say, 'read me if you feel like it'."

In complete disagreement was Miguel Angel Bastenier, editor for International Affairs, El Pais, Spain, who had said, "People who say newspapers have to have colour because life is in colour are down and out wrong. You can't reproduce reality, you can only represent it." What is of greater importance, according to Bastenier is 'newspaper language'. "I don't mean just words, I mean layout, design, everything. Colour is no better at representing life than black and white. It's rather like having air conditioning in your car. It's very useful, it's very nice to have but there are certainly climates where you don't need it."

While the debate continues, one waits eagerly to see how readers and advertisers take to the latest innovation from The Times of India. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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