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Split, wide & up: the ‘DLA’ story unfolds in Agra

Instead of hurting the Agarwal brand, the split interestingly created two brands out of one

Agra’s compact afternoon daily is keeping Ajay Agarwal, the former director and editor of ‘Amar Ujala’, smiling from ear to ear. Following a recent split from ‘Amar Ujala’, Agarwal conceptualised ‘DLA’ and named it after the founder of Amar Ujala, Dori Lal Agarwal .

Interestingly, instead of hurting the Agarwal brand, the split created two brands out of one. “With the net paid sales of this recently launched daily crossing 2.5 lakh copies, ‘DLA’ is even ahead of the combined sales of the leading dailies from the city of Agra,” says a proud Agarwal.

This 24-page, all color, compact format daily is light on text, with a lot of content illustrated in bullet points and has liberal usage of English, making the newspaper refreshingly stylish. The daily prints city and upcountry editions from Agra.

“The daily is not so much bought by commuters or shop keepers as by readers in households,” says Ajay Agarwal.

Explaining how his team recruited a fresh trade and distribution network in its area of operations, Agarwal adds, “We had to create a fresh distribution network since there wasn’t any afternoon daily in existence. We had attracted people from different trades, such as cable distribution networks, who, in no time found the business very lucrative. They not only stuck to the job but also started investing in larger print orders. It was an arduous task, but we are glad that our team did it so quickly.”

The daily was priced at Re. 1 during the first three months of its launch. But as the daily’s print order soared and stabilized beyond the 2.5 lakh copies mark, the management decided to raise the cover price to Rs. 2 in the upcountry area.

“‘DLA’ has a homogenous distribution not only in the city of Agra, but also in the adjoining districts of Firozabad, Aligarh, Etah, Etawah, Mathura and Hathras. With more than one lakh copies in the city of Agra, ‘DLA’ has already become the number one daily in the city, irrespective of the morning or afternoon time segments,” claims Agarwal.

The term ‘DLA’ also means ‘Daily Life Assistance’, which also spells out its content policy. It contents are not just news but useful information that is essential for day to day life. “More than half of our sales come from households,” says Hemant Anand, director, marketing, adding, “The rest is being consumed in offices, shops and establishments of the city.”

Such a mass based circulation has quickly drawn in the other consumers, namely, advertisers. Leading advertising agencies such as FCB Ulka, Mumbai and Group M have started booking regular advertising space, “though we had not even finished appointing our sales team in the metros,” says Agarwal.

Even the classified segment has received unprecedented support from the local advertising fraternity and ‘DLA’ has an average of three pages of classifieds every day.