Telugu daily Vaartha completes 10 years on February 1, 2006. The journey so far had been encouraging, said Girish Kumar Sanghi, the group’s Chairman and Managing Director. He also revealed that a news channel from the group was part of the agenda for this year. The channel is expected to go on air in ‘six to eight months’, and the core team is already in place.
Speaking to exchange4media, Sanghi said, “We have on our agenda a news channel. It was always there on the cards, but we wanted to establish ourselves properly in the print media before expanding. We are in the process of gathering our software right now, and a core team is in place. The rest of the team will be augmented along the way, and the channel should be launched in six to eight months.”
The daily has grown to a readership of 5,347,000, according to NRS 2005 (R2), and claims a circulation of 691,000 copies. The publication hopes to raise the circulation numbers with a focus on the urban markets.
“In our nascent stage, we were focused more on the rural segment, rural development, the farmer community and related issues. We did not stress much on the urban market. Now we need to concentrate more on the urban markets. We will also add more colour printing to all our 19 editions,” Sanghi further said.
The daily is currently offered as an 18-page main sheet with a 20-page tabloid. The four-colour pages will add to the main sheet, and this change will be seen in the next three months. It also plans to take the group’s Hindi daily, ‘Swatantra Vaartha’, to other non-Hindi regions of the country, including Bangalore and Kolkata, later this year.
On the journey so far and the road ahead, Sanghi said, “The journey has been very good so far, very healthy and very encouraging. We have achieved more than what is expected from a newspaper in such a short span of time. We have taken up public issues over this period, and on the whole, there is good acceptability and support. The numbers are good, but it is up to us to increase the numbers. The whole team is working on this rigorously and we will see results soon.”
On its 10th anniversary, the group will also embark on a mass campaign on AIDS awareness and other initiatives to aid employment and entrepreneurship.
On the space for another news channel in a well-contested market, Sanghi said, ”We think it will be well received. The channel has always been on the agenda. It will be different and exclusive.”
The daily Vaartha will also start with a print edition in the National Capital this year. The daily operates out of 250 regional offices across the country, including five metros and five mini-metros.