Some three years ago Dainik Jagran was all set to launch its Panipat edition. But competitor Dainik Bhaskar's pre-emptive strike in the year 2000, when it launched its Panipat edition, brought Jagran's plans to a grinding halt.
Now, the Hindi daily is gearing up to give shape to a plan it had to abandoned three years back. Jagran's Panipat edition will be launched on July 25 with a confirmed subscription order of 70,000 copies. The first print would, of course, hit the stands on July 26.
Technically speaking, what Jagran is doing now is making Panipat a printing centre. In short, Panipat will cater to the markets of the Haryana highway region - including Sonepat, Karnal, Ambala, Kurukshetra and Yamunanagar district - which the Delhi printing unit has been catering to so far. Gaziabad and Faridabad will continue to get the newspaper from Delhi. The Hisar edition will feed its five adjoining areas as before. (Incidentally, with the Panipat edition, Jagran would be treading on Bhaskar's territory for the first time).
The Panipat edition will not be any different from what is being printed from Delhi, but the cover price may change. In Haryana, Dainik Jagran currently costs Rs 2 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Rs 2.50 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. In contrast, Dainik Bhaskar sells for Rs 2 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Rs 3 on Thursdays and Rs 2.50 on Sundays. Effectively, consumers of both the papers end up paying the same amount every week for their papers - Rs 15.50.
This is likely to change. The final cover price of Jagran's Panipat edition will be announced a day or two before the launch.
Dainik Jagran has been present in Panipat and the Haryana highway belt (with a circulation of 16,000 copies) for 12 years now. However, the setting up of a printing centre was imperative. Otherwise the newspaper invariably reached the region late, affecting its circulation.
The other reason is to tap into the potential of a lucrative market. The state has more than 1,100 big- and medium-sized industrial units with foreign technical/financial collaborations. Among them are Maruti Udyog, Hero Honda, Escorts, Sony India, Whirlpool India, Bharti Telecom, Perfetti India, DCM Benetton, TDT Copper, Modi Alcatel and Carrier Aircon. Thus, from the advertisers' and consumers' perspective, Haryana makes for an important market. "Which is why media buyers do not treat the Haryana market as separate from Punjab," says Sanjay Gupta, editor, Dainik Jagran. "When they buy space in dailies, they buy it collectively in the Punjab and the Haryana editions."
He adds, "We have a considerable presence in Punjab as a strong number two (with a circulation of 1.3 lakh as per ABC July-December 2002 and 3.4 lakh, according to the IRS 2002 Round 2). Thus, fortifying our position in Haryana, Punjab's neighbour, is only logical."
While there is no contesting the fact that a considerable presence in Haryana is important for Jagran, fighting for reader mindspace is going to be an uphill task. Today Dainik Bhaskar leads the market with a circulation of 1.9 lakh copies in Haryana (that is Panipat and Hisar editions, minus Faridabad and Gurgaon) and in Panipat it has a circulation of 13,035. Punjab Kesari, the number two newspaper in Panipat, has a circulation of 8,699, followed by Dainik Jagran, which currently sells 3,225 copies. The Times of India and Hindustan Times are the other two players in Panipat with a circulation of 2,914 and 2,023 respectively.
Clearly, Jagran trails the No 1 player in the market by a huge margin. But that does not deter the Jagran team. "We will catch up soon," states Gupta. He is quick to point out, "Dainik Bhaskar and Jagran operate in different niches. While Bhaskar is feature like, Jagran is very news centric."
While competition is a reality that cannot be escaped, the positive response that Jargan officials have received during the personal contact campaign (a 400-strong workforce has already visited households in the state) is an encouraging start for newspaper, feel company officials. © 2003 agencyfaqs!