Malayala Manorama, the leading daily from Kerala,
has plans to extend its reach beyond the state with a fourth metro edition. The edition will be launched in about a month's time, though company officials refuse to spell out details about it.
According to Verghese Chandy, general manager, marketing, Malayala Manorama, the idea of the launch is to reach out to the Malayalee population residing outside the state. "We would like to be present wherever our Malayalee brothers are," he says.
Currently, the paper has 12 editions, three of which are metro editions from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The circulation of the paper is 12.96-lakh (according to the July-December 2003 period of ABC), while readership stands at 90.64-lakh (according to round 1 of IRS 2003).
The number two paper Mathrubhumi, on the other hand, has a print run of 10-lakh, while readership stands at 74.21-lakh (IRS 2003). It has eight editions circulating in the state and three metro editions from Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
Competition between the two is known to be intense, and on the occasion of Onam - the biggest festival in Kerala, which will be celebrated on August 28 - both papers have chalked out aggressive brand-building campaigns.
Malayala Manorama has opted to go with the theme of the 'world's largest shopping festival' through its print, online and direct marketing campaign targeted primarily at ad agencies and clients.
Mathrubhumi also has a similar exercise with road shows thrown in to increase awareness about the festival and the paper. Literature about the festival is offered to agency executives with a glass of Payasam (a sweet dish of Kerala) to drive home the message, says K Madhu, general manager, Mathrubhumi, Mumbai.
Malayala Manorama, meanwhile, has a special Kathakali dance performance at leading agencies and client offices to generate interest, says Chandy. "We began the ground event last year with a Mahabali act. This year we are communicating the message of Onam, which is about welcoming Mahabali, the Asura king, who once ruled over Kerala, through a dance recital."
The ultimate objective of the brand-building exercise is to attract advertising on the occasion of the festival. Like Christmas and Diwali, Onam ushers in hectic shopping among people, and to draw the attention of this audience, advertisers also up their spends proportionately, says Chandy. "The consumer durables sector, for instance, registers almost 60-65 per cent of its annual sales during this period."
Jewellery, textiles, automobiles are some of the other sectors that see an upward trend in sales during this period.
To accommodate the increase in advertising, Malayala Manorama has been publishing a twin issue for the last two years. The issues are launched about a week before the festival day and comprise approximately 32-40 pages in all. "An average issue is about 18-20 pages, but considering the need for more information, coupled with advertiser requirements during Onam, we came up with this idea," says Chandy.
Not to be left behind, Mathrubhumi too kicked-off a twin issue last year, with the likelihood of the trend continuing this year, says Madhu. "We are still a bit undecided about it, but chances are that a twin issue will happen this year as well." © 2004 agencyfaqs!