On the morning of February 13, 2003, three simultaneous editions of Dainik Jagran - from Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad, respectively - with an initial print run of over 2,00,000 copies, will be distributed across the state of Jharkhand. Along with the Jharkhand edition will be a small surprise for the readers in the eastern state - a hundred-page supplement on the history of the state. The edition will be in 'khadi boli', and the paper claims that it has already roped in all the major consumer durables brands as advertisers. However, company officials are unwilling to comment upon the edition's cover price.
To support the printing of the three editions, the Dainik Jagran group has set up a full-fledged printing facility, a complete editorial office and an advertising and space marketing outfit. Infrastructure investment has been to the tune of Rs 7-7.5 crore. With a printing facility in Jharkhand, the group now has printing centres in eight states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
After capturing the number two position in what is currently Bihar, the launch of the Jharkhand edition is a strategic step towards tapping what was once the southern regions of Bihar. The current readership figure of the Patna edition is 14,88,000 (IRS 2002, Round 1), and circulation stands at 1,13,446 (ABC January-June 2002). For the record, Hindustan is the leader, with a readership of 36,53,000 and a circulation figure of 2,94,321.
Explaining how the success of the Patna edition paved the way for the launch of the Jharkhand edition, Sanjay Gupta, managing director and editor, Dainik Jagran, says, "If the edition can be successful in Bihar, why not in Jharkhand, as Jharkhand is an affluent belt. In fact, in terms of consumer spending, Jharkhand is bigger (than Bihar). Plus, the media market is large. Which only implies that the market is waiting to be tapped. And we are offering a one-stop shop to our advertisers."
Prior to the launch of the Jharkhand edition, the Patna edition was feeding parts of Jharkhand. When the cumulative readership figures (for Patna and Jharkhand) in IRS 2002, round 1 (15,72,000) were compared with the cumulative readership figures in IRS 2001, round 2 (9,87,000), what emerged was that the Patna edition had recorded a growth of 59 per cent in readership. This was a cue for the publication to look at Jharkhand seriously.
The group decided to conduct a feasibility study. That done, Dainik Jagran engaged ORG-Marg to conduct a research, which lasted six months (July -December 2002). "In order to understand the mindset of the readers in Jharkhand and get an idea of the competition, we launched a personal contact programme," says Alok Sanwal, general manager, brand development, Dainik Jagran. "We went to about eight lakh houses. And the results were extremely encouraging. About one lakh-odd readers were willing to change their newspaper."
However, facing up to the existing competition in Jharkhand is going to be quite a challenge. Currently, there are two publications in the state - Prabhat Khaber (run by Jhanvar, part of the Usha group) with three editions from Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad, and Ranchi Express (owned by Maroos) with two editions from Ranchi and Jamshedpur. According to IRS 2002, round 1, the readership figure for Prabhat Khaber is 8,17,000, while that of Ranchi Express is 1,67,000. And as per the ABC January-June 2002 figures, the circulation of Prabhat Khaber's Ranchi edition is 1,13,827. Khaber's Jamshedpur edition has a circulation figure 43,578, while that of its Dhanbad edition is 2,8,688. The ABC January-June 2002 report puts Ranchi Express' circulation at 71,115.
Dainik Jagran officials feel they have an advantage over the competition on two fronts - content and marketing. "In order to get close to the readers, what is imperative is the presence of a strong local flavour, coupled with a holistic view of the things happening in and around Jharkhand," Gupta points out. Keeping this in mind, the group has implemented some innovations in the paper. The editions will have 16 pages, which are likely to go up to 20 pages on special occasions. The publication has identified about 30-40 occasions such as Kali puja, Durga puja, and State-related activities as days that would be extensively covered. Out of the 16 pages of the edition, six will be colour (the first three pages on the right-hand side, and the last three pages of the left-hand side).
The edition will carry supplements on three weekdays - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And, in all likelihood, two supplements on Sundays. Wednesday's supplement is youth-lead and called Josh. Tarang, the entertainment supplement, would come on Thursdays, and the Friday supplement, Sanghani, would addresses women's issues. On Sundays, readers can gorge on the latest goings-on in Bollywood with Jhankar. Shehnai is the second supplement that is likely to run on Sundays. As the name implies, it deals with matrimonial issues and bridal grooming.
In addition to the supplements, each of the three editions from Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad will have sub-editions: upcountry and city editions. While Ranchi will have eight such sub-editions, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad will have three and four sub-editions, respectively. The idea behind this initiative is to reach out to as many readers as possible, and fan out to far-flung areas. In comparison, each of the three editions of Prabhat Khaber has two sub-editions. Ditto is the case with the two editions of Ranchi Express.
That Dainik Jagran means business in Jharkhand is fairly evident. Whether all its efforts will get the consumer interested enough is a different matter. © 2003 agencyfaqs!