Times Group woos time-starved readers in Delhi with Speednews

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 06, 2003
Priced at Rs 1.50, the newly launched English weekday paper hopes to target people pressed for time

The Times group, owner of English daily The Times of India (TOI) besides a slew of other newspapers and magazines, has launched another full-fledged English newspaper in the Delhi market. Priced the same as the TOI, that is, at Rs 1.50 for all weekdays, Speednews is a short and snappy version of the group's flagship brand TOI - "a paper for time-pressed individuals", informs Rahul Kansal, brand director, The Times of India.

Speednews, which probably weighs the same as the TOI with 20-24 pages, however, does not have a Sunday edition. Depending on the market response, the company may venture in the weekend arena, but as of now, it is drawing up strategies to woo the advertiser (the current ads in Speednews are free, informs company executive). Only after gauging reader response would the group aggressively pitch the newspaper to media buyers and marketers. "Already 10,000 vendors are selling the paper in Delhi," informs Kansal, and it has been just four days since the paper was launched.

Speednews was born from the group's "market learning" that pointed at a growing restlessness among consumers of daily news. "People are hard pressed for time. They only have time enough to skim through the papers. In fact, for the past two years, TOI's attempt has been to deliver news succinctly. Articles that used to be 600-800 words long are now between 350-400 words. There are more infographics and boxes that contain the gist of articles," explains Kansal.

Keeping in mind the jam-packed routine of people, Speednews covers all news featured in the TOI, in addition to other news pieces that get left out in the paper due to space constraints. While executives make the primary target for the recently launched paper owing to their hectic schedules, Speednews is equally keen on grabbing the attention of the youth of the capital. "We have a one-page special section everyday for the youth called What's Up?," points out Kansal.

By trying to provide readers with the bare bones of important developments everyday, Speednews, in a sense, tries to match up with TV news channels and the Internet. However, given that growing net connectivity has enabled real-time access to information and since people turn to newspapers and magazines for analysis or for a point of view, will Speednews end up disappointing readers in the long run? Kansal recognises the dichotomy, but defends the group's thinking by saying, "While we celebrate brevity, it is not at variance with analysis."

The marketing team at TOI is not leaving any stone unturned, promoting Speednews through outdoor, radio, and road shows in the capital. And yes, the company brass is aware that Speednews' biggest foe in the hotly contested Delhi market is likely to be big brother TOI. But Kansal is optimistic. "Doesn't Lux International compete with Lux? Ultimately, this is going to grow the market," he contends. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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