Adding to its cyber basket of popular websites like htnext.com and hindustantimes.com, print major Hindustan Times today introduced the e-paper, ‘hindustantimes.com/epaper’ – a virtual clone of the print edition. The new portal is the first pay site from the HT stable.
Sanjay Trehan, Chief of Internet, HT Media, spoke to exchange4media on the various aspects that attributed to the launch of the e-paper. “The new portal very uniquely combines the look and feel of the print with the interactivity of the web. We are also offering the Delhi supplement, HT City in a digital version on the portal,” he said. The new portal primarily targets the NRI community that wants to receive the newspaper in its purest form on the web.
The portal charges $ 3 for a monthly subscription, while for a six-month period, the charge has been fixed at $ 15 and $ 25 would be the annual subscription rate. There is also an early-bird offer which is valid for sixty days wherein the user gets an annual subscription for $20. Elaborating the decision to launch a pay site, Trehan said, “Our research on the web suggested that there is a market for premium content and people are willing to pay provided they get the value. What we have offered here is an e-paper that is the complete Hindustan Times in its original format. We have made sure that we would come up with the best-in-class features, which would enhance the interactivity of the product. For instance, you can search via articles (key words), ads and photographs, you can zoom in and zoom out on a story or a picture for better readability, which is an interactive feature of the offering,” he continued, “Another amazing feature of the site is that you can actually listen to the story. Just select the article in the audio section and that’s it. You are hearing the story. Besides this, the usual features like e-mailing it to a friend or print an article are also there”.
However, the Delhi-headquartered publishing major has planned aggressive print and online campaign to support the launch of the e-paper. The campaign is scheduled to hit the media in three weeks. “It is a soft launch for the first fortnight. An exhaustive campaign by O&M will hit the print and the web, but electronic media is not a part of our initial strategy, though we will certainly use it in the near future,” said Trehan.
The e-paper is planned on the lines of the success story of the online edition of The News York Times. Studies show that the print circulation of NYT increased after the paper experimented introducing the web edition for those who did not have access to the daily. “We expect it to be a favourable and positive response as we are exposing to newer audiences. It is like a marketing extension,” explained Trehan.