Entering its 40th year, Deshdoot Group, which publishes Marathi daily Deshdoot in North Maharashtra, has launched the paper’s Ahmednagar edition. The group already has its presence in Ahmednagar district, where it has been bringing out another of its Marathi publications, Sarvamat, for the last 33 years.
The launch of the new edition is being eyed with interest as it is perhaps the first time that any publication has launched two brands in the same market in the same language. The launch is said to be strategic, considering the fact that Ahmednagar, the largest district in Maharashtra, has flourishing sugar, milk, and cloth industries. The district houses 19 sugar factories contributing more than 50 per cent of sugar to the entire state.
Sharing the publication’s growth, Vikram Sarda, Managing Editor, Deshdoot Group, said, “We have a great presence in this region, and being politically neutral, we enjoy a great loyal readership. We are the voice of North Maharashtra today and our readers look up to us to provide the leadership to bring about change and development in the region. We realise it is a huge responsibility, but we are also assured in our belief that we can discharge this responsibility with aplomb.”
“We have caused quite a buzz in Ahmednagar with the announcement of our latest launch, and we are expecting tremendous response from the discerning readers of this vibrant and rapidly growing city,” he added.
Among other favourable factors for the growing print industry in Ahmednagar are a literacy rate of 84 per cent – a hallmark of Ahmednagar’s demographics, and the ever growing influx of tourists coming on a pilgrimage to Shirdi. At present, Ahmednagar has Deshdoot, Lokmat, Sakaal, and four afternooners.
Janak Sarda, Director, Deshdoot Group, is excited about the new highs the publication is scaling. In conversation with exchange4media, he shared the two key strategies that the group is employing to elevate its presence and fortify its content. These include the focus on schools by organising events and promoting fun activities; and revamping of content by being more informative.
Janak Sarda informed, “We have identified schools in Nashik, and we are running tree plantation drive with Nashik Municipal Council and HLL Purit.”
“Our Sunday supplement has undergone changes. The strategy is to make it more appealing to the youth while keeping the old readers’ interest unflagging. The presentation of content underwent change five weeks ago,” he added.
He claimed that the circulation of Deshdoot had shown a marked increase in each district. In Nashik, the circulation of Deshdoot was at an average of 35,000 per day, while Deshdoot Times was at 9,500, he further claimed, adding, the combined circulation for Jalgaon, Dhule, and Nandurbar stood at 50,000 per day.
Meanwhile, the circulation of Sarwamat, the other Marathi daily from the Group, in the rural town of Shrirampur in Ahmednagar district is reportedly around 28,000 copies per day. The second edition is expected to add to this figure with an initial circulation of around 50,000 copies.
The inaugural price of Deshdoot’s Ahmednagar edition has been kept as Rs 1.50, while the existing editions will continue to sell at Rs 3.
Deshdoot is an established daily in North Maharashtra, comprising five cash rich districts of Nashik, Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar. The paper was established in 1970 with its flagship edition in Nashik. Since then, the paper claims to have grown steadily across North Maharashtra, with Sarvamat being launched in Ahmednagar in 1976; English daily Deshdoot (called Deshdoot Times since 1998) in 1993; the Dhule edition of Deshdoot in 1996; the Jalgaon edition in 1997; and the Nandurbar edition in 1998.
The Group will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary on August 23, 2009.