The Times Group’s plans to launch its flagship daily, The Times of India, in Kerala may finally be coming to fruition. It is learnt that the group is set to launch The Times of India in Kerala early next year. Industry sources informed that TOI had entered into a strategic with Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi to access the latter’s printing press and distribution network. The move is likely to allow TOI a strong entry into Kerala, which otherwise is dominated by The Hindu among English dailies.
It may be recalled that exchange4media was the first to report that The Times of India was exploring options in Kerala. At the time, Rahul Kansal, Chief Marketing Officer, Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), had said, “Whether we will launch in Kochi on our own or enter into a strategic partnership or not launch at all, is something that has not been decided.”
Chinen Das, Director, Business Development, South, BCCL, has confirmed to exchange4media that an alliance with Mathrubhumi is on the cards. He, however, refused to confirm or deny whether the MoU had been signed or not. Sources at both the Times Group and Mathrubhumi have said that the deal has not being signed yet. Highly placed sources, however, informed that the alliance has been finalised.
A Good Marriage
Analysing this development, Dinesh Vyas, Head, MEC, Team Reliance, said, “The alliance is definitely going to help The Times of India. Strategically, TOI group is very strong. It targets markets, and more often than not, it does well in those markets. Bangalore and Nagpur are a few examples. I feel that the top two English newspapers in Kerala – The Hindu and The New Indian Express – haven’t been improving their product over the years, and that is where TOI sees an opportunity.”