Mint – 25 Aug 2011
Deccan Herald to launch Delhi edition
BY ANUSHREE CHANDRAN & ABHILASHA OJHA
Karnataka’s English daily Deccan Herald is venturing out of the state for the first time to enter Delhi for a share of its estimated Rs 1,500 crore English print advertising market.
The market is dominated by two major national dailies Hindustan Times and The Times of India, published by HT Media Ltd and Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd, respectively. They have a combined circulation of more than 2.2 million in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). HT Media also publishes Mint.
The Printers (Mysore) Pvt. Ltd, the company that publishes Deccan Herald, has invited applications from journalists in Delhi for various posts in advertisements in The Hindu and the Hindustan Times.
A launch was imminent and hence it was difficult to comment on plans, said a Deccan Herald executive on condition of anonymity.
“But we are firm in our intent to launch. There is no dithering on that,“ he said.
The newspaper will take at least six months to start its Delhi edition and will launch with at least 15,000 copies, another executive added. K.N. Tilak Kumar, editor-in- chief of the Deccan Herald, remained unavailable for comment. Emails and phone calls to his office remained unanswered.
An executive at a leading advisory firm said “a successful launch in New Delhi should at the very least have 50,000 copies“. If correct, the initial print run is minuscule in comparison with the Hindustan Times and The Times of India, media buyers said.
As per 2010 Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures, the Hindustan Times has a circulation of 1.2 million in Delhi, while The Times of India has a circulation of 1.11 million.
“Delhi is a very matured market with not just HT but several strong publications… So it will indeed be a challenge for a new entrant,“ said Shantanu Bhanja, vice-president (marketing), HT Media. He added, however, that the market was very robust.
“Delhi is the largest market in terms of readership as well as revenue. It is also the fastest growing, making it highly attractive,“ he said. The total English readership in Delhi is nearly four million.
Rahul Kansal, chief marketing officer of Bennett, Coleman, said the Delhi market posed challenges to new entrants. “The loyalty of readers to the two leading newspapers is already very strong. Also, most advertisers can’t look beyond the market leaders,“ he added.
The Deccan Herald, a 63-year- old family-owned paper, has a circulation of more than 250,000 and editions in Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Mangalore, Gulbarga and Belur. Currently, it is the second most read English daily in Karnataka with an average issue readership of 423,000 next to The Times of India’s average issue readership of 535,000, according to the Indian Readership Survey for the first quarter of 2011.
Janardan Pandey, associate vice-president at Mudra Max, the media arm of the Mudra Group, sees potential for new entrants, considering Delhi and NCR are growing rapidly in terms of population and literacy. The 2011 census recorded Delhi’s literacy rate at 86.34%, a 4.67 percentage point jump over 2001. “Delhi has long needed a strong third newspaper brand.“
According to Mona Jain, chief executive officer of VivaKi Exchange, the centralized buying agency for Publicis Groupe, Delhi’s print market is interesting because the readership potential is varied and high. Of the total print ad market size, 80% is with the market leaders.
Independent media consultant A.S. Raghunath said a market does not get saturated when there is a steady growth in population. There is still a large gap to be covered by English papers in Delhi and NCR since the base of people who can read English is 9.7 million and all English dailies have together been able to reach only four million readers.