Neha Kalra
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<span class="htext1">Innovating brands:</span> DNA

A new paper, it managed to strike roots in a city that has been dominated by The Times of India

With five editions in a span of four years and a circulation of 8.38 lakh copies across Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Surat, DNA ranks fourth amongst newspapers in Mumbai (IRS 2009, R1). It, incidentally, is also the fastest-growing broadsheet daily in the city. According to IRS 2009 R1, it has 13.24 lakh readers in the city, and registered a growth of 46 per cent in three years.

Prior to 2005, Mumbai was dominated by the 171-year-old heritage of The Times of India (ToI). Generations grew up reading this newspaper. Yet, the English daily market catered to only 1.8 million readers in Mumbai - out of the 3.3 million citizens who could read and speak English. That left a substantial 1.5 million untapped section that tempted DNA into the city.

<span class="htext1">Innovating brands:</span> DNA
DNA's growth strategy has been to develop a pan-India footprint. Its critical success factors were the ability to unlock a monopoly market condition, break free of the private treaty/market share/exclusivity contracts of ToI, improve brand salience and readership per copy, as well as the ability to continuously grow both volume and yield. Though it obviously wants to be a major national brand, its first objective was to create a paper for the 'Mumbaikar'.

A joint venture between Dainik Bhaskar and Zee, DNA came in without prior experience in English Dailies. Moreover, it was pitted against the might and heritage of the TOI which no paper had managed to make any dent whatsoever, yet.

To create awareness, DNA carried out door-to-door research about reader preferences on a mammoth scale involving 1,700 market research executives. This plus a stunning outdoor campaign created a solid base of curiosity. The launch had Mumbai painted with the colours of DNA and it got off to a roaring start. It brought 3,00,000 subscribers on board on Day 1. As it settled down nicely in Mumbai, DNA turned its eyes to other markets. It launched the Ahmedabad edition in November 2007. The next year saw launches in Pune, Jaipur and Bengaluru.

The last-named city proved to be the next most important launch for the paper. Stiff competition was obviously expected from the troika of ToI, the Deccan Herald and The Hindu. After a ramp-up subscription offer at Rs 301 for a year, and of about five months for garnering subscribers, on the day of the launch DNA had 1,20,000 subscribed readers, all of whom had paid in advance for the whole year.