The Indian Newspaper Kongress (INK) 2012 was held on July 20 at New Delhi. Organised by exchange4media Group, the annual event aimed to understand what the future holds for the newspaper industry.
‘National brands dovetailing local heroes or vice versa’ was the topic at the third panel discussion, where Jwalant Swaroop, COO Publishing, Lokmat Media spoke about his personal experience in the Marathi newspaper market. His take was that if a national brand had a regional presence, it will have to survive in those markets and obviously pick publications and media vehicles available there. If metro newspapers of any language have to grow, they have to spread out and go where consumption is. Market dynamics is defining growth agendas of publications or brand owners. “I don’t believe in ‘national’ or ‘regional’ – these markets have their own dynamics,” said Swaroop.
Creating ‘New Maharashtra’
“During my 20-year experience of selling Lokmat in Maharashtra since 1992, I saw brand owners were reluctant to come to Nagpur, as they could not think beyond Mumbai. We had to travel with marketers and bring them to Nagpur and show them how consumers do exist there and how it is cheaper to establish outlets too. We started saying that we market Lokmat for a clustered market that we called ‘New Maharashtra’,” he said.
New Maharashtra soon became a region and gradually this market was sold to the marketers by them, saying that here’s an opportunity to be leveraged. Most brand owners had not experienced the new markets and the fact was that if they had to grow, they had to reach out to these areas.
There are ‘spending’ cities (in smaller towns) and ‘earning’ cities (Delhi, Mumbai) – this is how wealth is moving and media has to follow this path. Today with lifestyle brands such as watches and cars are all there. “We sold 150 Mercedes cars in Aurangabad in two days – all cash paid – through our ads,” he said.
New media is able to attract local advertisers too but it has a long way to go. Kerala is a different market unlike Maharashtra, as it enjoys a high literacy rate and has a large population abroad, where internet usage is higher. The new medium is making inroads, but it’s slow. “We’re working on apps for iPad, mobiles, etc.,” he said.
INK 2012 was presented by Dainik Jagran.