At a time when Internet has become an indispensable part for information sharing & networking, we look at the two leading portals of the largest selling dailies - The Hindustan Times and The Times Of India respectively.
When most of the Internet based commercial portals are going out of business, the pre-requisite market incentive for any company today is to survive, even as indiatimes.com is playing it safe with a classic youthful blend of news, content, community & commerce; hindustantimes.com has successfully completed its first phase & is now all set to move into the second round with a conscious endeavour to enable it (hindustantimes.com), as not just an extension of print but an independent standalone media entity.
“With a content bureau of around 35 people, we upload 600 web pages on a daily basis. And with a remarkable growth of 700%, we have increased the pages from 3 million in February to 24 million being read per month fetching an ad revenue size of 75 lakhs annually and with current scale of projection we hope to break even in March 2004,” says Sanjay Trehan, General Manager-Internet, Hindustan Times.
On the other hand, Mahendra Swarup, CEO, Indiatimes says, “ indiatimes.com have achieved break even in the balance sheet of this calendar year with the revenue model based on ad-sales, e-commerce & unique promotions.”
Adding further Swarup says, “ With around 100 people working as a part of content pool, we upload more than 2,200 stories in various channels across indiatimes including stories that go in Timesofindia.com and economictimes.com. The page impression is 500 million per month.”
Promotions form an inevitable part in successful adoption of a brand. “For the last one month hindustantimes.com has been aggressively promoting its portal. We want to take hindustantimes.com to the doors of the customers rather than wait for them to come, and since we can’t go to everybody, we have identified youth as our target. We are now participating in various road shows and youth functions. We are also creating a brand ambassador (preferably a second year girl student) for hindustantimes.com in top ten colleges of Delhi. Her books and education will be sponsored by hindustantimes.com—a unique attempt being done!” asserts Trehan.
In addition to this, hindustantimes.com’s sales team members are going with Hindustan Times media marketing team and making conscious presentations to the clients, whereas indiatimes.com is using various innovative marketing tools and strategies to reach out to its target audience. But what deserves special mention are the unique tie-ups that indiatimes.com has ventured into with leading media, product and service companies.
“Almost every leading product and service companies are advertising with indiatimes.com as they realize the portal’s reach & variety to provide marketing programmes that drive customer acquisition, retention, & penetration.”-Adds Swarup
Though indiatimes has taken the lead in building a web based brand, HT has also realised the immense potential of the medium and is now focusing its energies more on building such a brand. Given the kind of competition they have in the publishing business edition this surely will be another interesting battle to watch.