Sandesh revvs up for the numero uno slot

By , agencyfaqs! | In | June 10, 2004
The no.2 Gujarati paper has entered into a tie-up with CNBC to syndicate
content for its business page, apart from lending support to its online and
offline activities

Sandesh is the current number two newspaper in Gujarat, and it isn't very happy with the arrangement.

The Gujarat-based paper is serious about becoming the first choice among readers and advertisers in the state, and has already set its ambitious plans in motion.

The topmost priority is to strengthen the product in terms of editorial quality, says Kumar Nirmalendu, senior vice-president, Sandesh. The paper is in the process of tying up with business channel CNBC to provide content for the business page. The agreement, at the MoU stage at this point, will come into effect on July 1, 2004.

For the record, business news is keenly followed by the people of Gujarat, the traditional investors in the stock market.

The newspaper is planning to launch a four-page business supplement, says Nirmalendu, which should be in place in the next few months. "We intend to increase the number of business pages, and the tie-up with CNBC will help us in this endeavour," he says.

The partnership, incidentally, is not restricted to content syndication alone, but will extend to online and offline activities as well. Sandesh will be the exclusive partner of CNBC in Gujarat, implying that any event organised by either of the partners will be supported by the other. "Essentially, we will be promoting each other," Nirmalendu says.

The overall design and layout of Sandesh has been revamped to bring in a greater structure and focus into the paper. "National, international, state, local, sports as well as business news are well-defined now," Nirmalendu explains. "Hence, readers wanting to know about a specific topic can easily locate the page."

On an average, the paper consists of about 26-28 pages, inclusive of a four-page or eight-page supplement on a daily basis. In comparison to other editions, (Sandesh has a total of five editions in Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Surat, Baroda and Rajkot), the Ahmedabad edition has eight supplements (as opposed to seven in others), with City Life - the eighth one, which is exclusive to the city - positioned as a supplement for the youth.

Content in the City Life supplement is distributed into two halves - the first two pages in Gujarati and the latter in English. Nirmalendu maintains that with a bilingual approach, the paper is able to target audiences conversant in both Gujarati as well as English. "A lot of youngsters have started reading a Gujarati daily," he says. "A bilingual approach in the youth supplement does tend to put them at ease."

According to the current Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2003 (round 11), Sandesh's overall readership stands at 43.14 lakhs to Gujarat Samachar's (the number one paper in Gujarat) 43.75 lakhs.

These figures, when compared to those in round 10 of the IRS, shows that Sandesh and Samachar have actually registered a drop in readership in the current survey. Sandesh stood at 49.64 lakhs in round 10 and Samachar at 50.5 lakhs.

Divya Bhaskar, a new entrant in the Ahmedabdad market, is the reason behind this change in fortune. Bhaskar's current readership in Ahmedabad is 9.84 lakhs (source: IRS, round 11), followed by Samachar at.9.39 lakhs and Sandesh at 6.96 lakhs.

Down but definitely not out, Sandesh is now keen on giving competition a run for its money. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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