For the six-month period ending June 30, Lokmat’s daily circulation climbed to 373,808, according the ABC January-June 2010 report. The paper’s Pune edition itself showed a growth of over 100,000 copies during this period.
Commenting on the paper’s performance, Rishi Darda, Executive Director, Lokmat Group, said, “Good journalism and smart marketing has borne results with a quantum jump in our Pune numbers. Pune is an important market for us, and our team is geared to add more copies with every ABC. With the installation of all new colour printing machinery, the stress as always will be to give the readers a quality product.”
Bharat Kapadia, Director, Lokmat Group, said, “We are glad to have struck a chord with those who reside in Pune and efforts continue to improve our offering to the discerning readers. Lokmat is a leader in Maharashtra and Goa, and we wish to establish clear leadership in all our markets.”
The circulation increase has been attributed to Lokmat’s strategic plan, ‘Operation Redbox’, with sustained efforts to gain new readers. The circulation teams were made responsible and were given targets and motivated to perform. Operation Redbox has many ‘firsts’ to its credit. Early 2010 saw a price war that led to the Pune Newspapers Hawkers Union going on an indefinite strike in Pune city and PCMC area. But the circulation teams of Lokmat were quick to respond with a plan to counter the situation.
According to the Lokmat Group, an independent distribution network of hawkers was created on a war footing. Milk delivery boys, grocery stores boys, cash sale boys – were roped in to form a strong team of 1,500. More than 1,100 stalls (more than the union hawkers’ stalls) were appointed and this task force of 1,500 selling boys became the home grown distribution network for Lokmat.
To increase visibility, an out of home promotional activity was carried out. Cable ads were released, banners were displayed on all stalls to boost the sale and a toll free number activity was initiated especially for the readers. Operation Redbox also saw Lokmat printing issues on holidays, when few publications didn’t print at all.