Viveat Susan Pinto

Battleground Mumbai: Mid Day gears up for competition

The alliance with The Indian Express is aimed at enhancing volumes, says Mid Day’s MD Tariq Ansari

Amid the din around the impending launch of three English dailies in Mumbai, the city’s second-most read general interest newspaper Mid Day is quietly gearing up for battle royale.

Mid Day, in recent times, has seen an increase of about 22 per cent in circulation, primarily on the back of entertainment, city-centric, some amount of national/international, and sports news.

The mix is doing so well that, according to market sources, Mid Day’s current circulation is about 1.85 lakh copies, though company executives refuse to spell out exact details.

The July-Dec 2004 period of the ABC, for the record, puts Mid Day’s circulation at 1.40 lakh copies.

To fight competition, Mid-Day Multimedia has plans to increase the number of colour pages in its flagship brand. It will also go in for an ad rate hike, which is likely to be announced next week.

Justifying the move, Tariq Ansari, MD of the company, says that the timing is just right for it. “If one is considering a rate hike. It is possible now,” he says.

The Indian Express group’s 10 per cent equity stake in Mid-Day Multimedia, he explains, has two benefits – enhance volumes and avoid the chances of being overlooked by advertisers. “If you club Loksatta, Mid Day, The Indian Express and Gujarati Mid Day, the combined readership is 20 lakhs. We cannot be overlooked with these figures.”

Both The Indian Express group and Mid-Day Multimedia will join forces in the areas of advertising, distribution and circulation. Joint packages that leverage the strengths of the two will be launched.

“For instance,” says Ansari, “The Express’ share of tender advertising in Mumbai is 70 per cent, while we have a share of just 2.5 per cent. Similarly, we are strong in retail advertising, while Express is not. So there are areas where we can cooperate.”

Mid-Day Multimedia, incidentally, closed the financial year 2004-05 with total net sales of Rs 102.4 crore as opposed to Rs 93.1 crore in the previous year. For the last quarter of 2004-05, net sales were Rs 25.6 crore as opposed to Rs 25.0 crore in the corresponding quarter for the year 2003-04.

Net profit after tax came down to Rs 6.1 crore in 2004-05 from Rs 9.1 crore in 2003-04. In the last quarter of the financial year 2004-05, the company incurred a net loss of Rs 93 lakh on account of a write-off of bad debts (in outdoor) to the extent of Rs 3.2 crore. The net profit for the same period in 2003-04 was Rs 2.6 crore. © 2005 agencyfaqs!

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