Abid Hussain Barlaskar

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

...is the message directed at advertisers in a latest joint ad initiative by Hindi dailies Hindustan and Dainik Bhaskar.

This probably is the first time a couple of competing newspapers have come together to put out joint advertisements against another mainstream medium, albeit a competitor to both, the television. The ads in context have been jointly rolled out by Hindi news dailies, Hindustan and Dainik Bhaskar. The communication boasts of the Hindi print media's overall reach in the state of Bihar, which, according to figures, is 50.7 percent higher than that of cable and satellite TV.

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

Joint ad by Dainik Bhaskar and Hindustan
Click on the image to enlarge

At first, it was unclear why Bihar, a state with the lowest literacy (61.80 percent as per 2011 census) fared better in the print medium over television, which overcomes the literacy barrier when it comes to communication.

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

Joint ad initiative by Hindi print media in Bihar
Click on the image to enlarge

This came clear post 'Print is Growing', a myth-busting presentation jointly made by Kannada daily Vijayavani and DB Corp, backed by figures provided by the Media Research Users Council (MRUC) and the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). The myth being busted was that print was a dying medium and is being taken over by other new age mediums.

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

MRUC data about TV penetration
Click on the image to enlarge

The presentation revealed that TV in Bihar has the lowest penetration and fares considerably lower than its BIMARU cousins.

The ads are directed at advertisers looking to communicate with the state's population and does not mince words in saying that, in Bihar, without Hindi print media, the advertiser's message is 'lost'.

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

Malayalam dailies take on English dailies
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We have seen such competitive communication within mediums in the past with Malayalam Print Media boasting of its higher reach against English dailies. But print taking on TV is probably a first.

We got in touch with Kaacon Sethi, CMO, DB Corp to find more about the campaign.

Sethi says, "According to the IRS' (Indian Readership Survey) 2017 analysis of Hindi print (includes all newspapers) vs cable and satellite TV reach, Hindi print has 50.7 percent more reach than cable and satellite TV in Bihar. The situation is more pronounced among men with Hindi print media having close to 120 percent more reach than cable and satellite TV."

How do you gain from the communication?

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

Kaacon Sethi

"It is imperative for media planners and buyers, and advertisers to take cognisance of the fact that a TV plan cannot be the base or main media vehicle for the state of Bihar. Hindi newspapers will have to be the main media vehicle. It will have to be the mainstay of the advertiser's media plan without which the messaging will be lost. Moreover, as a market, Bihar is bigger than Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh - that have a population of approximately 6 - 8 crores. The population of Bihar is 11 crores. From a reach and consumption perspective, Bihar is a huge market. Purchasing and advertising is bound to grow, it will attract more adex and in the future grow to be a 1000-crore market. It's a real possibility as purchasing power and education grows and filters down the pop strata in the state."

Which other states share or are closer to the Bihar scenario?

In the HSM (Hindi Speaking Medium) states, Bihar is unique. In Uttar Pradesh, there is a difference between Hindi print reach and cable and satellite TV reach, albeit small.

But how did the joint communication between two competitors come about?

"It is a result of discussion and deliberation to represent the true reach picture in the state. While we are competitors on the ground, as the leading dailies in the state, it is also our responsibility to help grow consumption in the state by helping and guiding the planning, buying and advertising community to make the right choice of medium for brand messaging in the state. Hence the joint decision was taken between Hindustan and Dainik Bhaskar Group to present the compelling data facts about the substantially higher reach of Hindi print medium versus TV. We are also inviting other newspapers in the market to join the effort and promote the communication."

What other campaigns can we expect from the brand in the coming days?

"We are in the midst of the Bihar campaign where we have become the second largest newspaper, as per the Hansa Research Group Study (2018,) of over one-lakh towns in Bihar. We are also breaking the Rajasthan campaign, where we have, as per the Audit Bureau of Circulations January - June 2018 report, become the largest circulated newspaper in Rajasthan."

Sethi assures that there will be more such communications as the situation demands.

We asked Radhesh Uchil, CEO, MRUC, why it was important to communicate that the print medium is doing well.

Hindi print reigns over TV in Bihar...

Radhesh Uchil

"There is a general myth in the market that print as an industry is dying. There is data available now to support that it's not the truth. People need to be told about that," Uchil says.

Uchil further stresses that print as an industry has to come together and communicate this to its users, the advertisers.

"This is the first step and it has been happening in the last few months. The industry needs to work together to promote themselves instead of competing internally to gain a share of the ad pie. Next, the industry measurement matrix needs to be in place to convince others that it is working fine. The first thing that advertisers want to know is that whether the money they are putting in a medium is delivering or not," Uchil concludes.