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Writer: Deepa Balasubramanian - Saturday, Sep 07,2013 8:22 AM
The Hindu to launch its Tamil newspaper in mid-September

The Tamil Nadu newspaper market is set to see the entry of a new player. Kasturi & Sons, publishers of The Hindu, is gearing to launch its Tamil newspaper in mid-September.

The cover price is expected to be between Rs 3.50 and Rs 4. The paper will have 16 pages in the main issue and 4-8 paged supplements in different genres, which would appear four days a week. The group will start with a print run of six lakh copies, which will be increased gradually.

Asokan Krishnamurthy, the former Editor of Ananda Vikatan, has been roped in as Editor of the new Tamil daily. Asokan, who joined the organisation in July 2013, has an experience of 25 years.

When asked about the name of the newspaper, Arun Anant, CEO, Kasturi & Sons said, “We are toying with alternate names. The Hindu name has a strong equity and we would like to leverage that.”

Commenting on the objective behind entering the Tamil language space, Anant said, “We believe that we have built a great brand and we now want to have the same quality delivered in the Tamil Space. This is also backed by our research and readership intervention across Tamil Nadu. Moreover, the last couple of years have seen the regional language dailies growing faster than English language dailies. This is partly because advertising is also moving in tier II and tier III towns. End of the day, the content is what will deliver quality readership. So, we see a great opportunity in this space.”

The new daily will face some stiff competition from the decade-old Tamil daily Dinathathi and Dinamalar. Anant remained unfazed by the competition and said that competition is nothing new. “We are clear about our strategies and will deliver quality audience to our advertisers. So, it does not matter who we are competing with,” he maintained.

Speaking on the challenges, he said, “In business, there will always be days when the market is down or up. In that sense, there is no real ideal time to do a launch. The challenge always is rising cost versus depreciating revenue, which puts pressure on the bottom line. We have rationalised our operations to a large extent. That is a continuous process. The challenges are the same for both English and Tamil dailies. Having been in the business for long, we know what to expect and how to manage.”

Meanwhile, a 360-degree marketing plan has been put in place prior to the launch. Along with the print launch, the group also has a team in place for the digital initiatives, which will be simultaneously rolled out along with apps, which will be launched in a phased manner.

Media agencies watch with interest
The Hindu has a strong brand presence in the Tamil Nadu. But will the new daily be able to leverage the brand name and create a name for itself in the regional language space? exchange4media finds out from some media planners.

“The group has potential, but they have to wait and see whether this new venture will really be a win-win for them,” remarked a media planner on condition of anonymity.

A senior official from a media agency noted, “The Hindu as a brand is a heritage brand. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu is huge in terms of population and readers. People who read The Hindu are very loyal to the brand. Among the loyal readers, there will be people who will want to read a quality Tamil newspaper from the same group.”

At the same time, he pointed out that Tamil newspaper readership has not gone up in a significant way. “Hence, the new entrant might take the readership count to a higher level because of the brand name and fame that The Hindu already as in the market,” he added.

According to a Deloitte report on the media and entrainment market in South India, Tamil Nadu accounts for 26 per cent of the overall regional print industry, estimated at Rs 2,970 crore in 2011-12.

While there is considerable interest in the new entrant, it will be interesting to see whether it is able to deliver on its promise and reach the level that The Hindu is in today.

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