For Marathi daily Deshonnati, which is strong in the north and central parts of Maharashtra, the challenge on hand is not only to maintain leadership, but also to move into allied areas of the state.
One such area is eastern Vidarbha (located towards the border of Madhya Pradesh), whose epicentre is Nagpur; and the publication is wasting no time in foraying into this region.
The newspaper, whose overall circulation is 1.08-lakh copies (as per the July-December 2003 period of ABC), has launched its eleventh edition from Nagpur on July 11, and according to Prakash Pohore, chief editor and managing director, Deshonnati, the print run of the new edition is 55,000 copies to begin with.
Deshonnati's traditional readers are from western Vidarbha, Khandesh and Marathwada regions of north and central Maharashtra.
"We conducted a survey in and around Nagpur to understand the market as well as the requirement of readers," says Pohore.
The survey began in March, 2004 with 100 field executives going to 1.60 lakh households in the city. Pohore maintains that householders had expressed their desire for a change in the newspaper they had been reading, and the launch of Deshonnati was linked to this need.
"Most of the papers in Nagpur show some affiliation to one political party or the other. Hence the editorial policy is not neutral in that sense. Deshonnati, on the contrary, has no political affiliation and our editorial policy is independent in nature."
Competition for Deshonnati in Nagpur chiefly comes from leader Lokmat, which circulates at 1.43 lakh copies, followed by Sakal at 51,013 copies (figures for July-Dec 2003 period of ABC). Tarun Bharat, Navrashtra and Loksatta are some of the other Marathi dailies around (ABC figures for July-Dec 2003 period not available), which makes the print landscape in the region pretty crowded.
The Nagpur edition of Deshonnati feeds the adjoining districts of eastern Vidarbha including Bhandara, Gondia, Gadchiroli, Chandrapur and Wardha. Its other 10 editions are Akola, Amravati, Buldhana, Wardha (this is a separate edition from the region), Yavatmal, Washim, Jalgaon, Dhule, Aurangabad and Nanded.
The Nagpur edition is priced at Rs 2 and consists of 16 pages, which is a main issue of 12 pages and a four-page colour supplement distributed six times a week. The Nagpur edition also has an eight-page city pullout catering to issues related to the city, says Pohore. "Gondhia-Bhandara, Chandrapur-Gadchiroli and Wardha have separate four-page district pullouts, so that we can cater to issues related to those regions," he says.
The paper has also set up a new printing unit at Nagpur, whose total capacity is 35,000 copies per hour. Earlier, the paper had only one printing unit located at Akola, with a total printing capacity of 50,000 copies per hour.
The investment in the printing unit as well as the launch of the Nagpur edition has amounted to Rs 15-crore, and the paper's next destination is Mumbai, says Pohore. "Our future plans are to launch an edition from Mumbai, but that should take us another two years. Right now our intention is to consolidate our position in eastern Vidarbha, where we have just set foot."
Its immediate plans for eastern Vidarbha include increasing the current print run from 55,000 copies to about 70,000-80,000-odd copies, and Pohore is hopeful of achieving this target within a year. "We have always banked on a strong editorial product, so that should take us through," he adds. © 2004 agencyfaqs!