Over the last 10 years, Telugu daily Prajasakthi has been consciously moulding itself into a ‘comprehensive daily offering’. What started as a weekly offering that took on the British and the Nizam in 1942, was reborn as the party organ of the CPI (M) 25 years ago.
Today, it is a publication with eight editions. Going forward, the publications aims to consolidate its presence in Andhra Pradesh, and in the coming years, hopes to have a colourful offering for its readers.
The daily claims a circulation of 80,000 to 100,000 copies currently, up 100 per cent over the last five years. A lot of it had to do with the changes that had been effected, said S Vinay Kumar, Editor, Prajashakti.
Speaking to exchange4media, he said, “Earlier, we used to write articles that could only be read by a certain section of the society. We have started giving more importance to local news now. Contemporary articles and news that can be consumed by the common man is presented now, and district supplements have also been introduced in the last two to three years. These have helped the expansion.”
Five years ago, the publication estimates its circulation to have been in the region of 50,000 copies. Its network of over 1,000 stringers spread across the state and offices in all district headquarters had all evolved rapidly over the past few years, said Kumar.
The interesting part about the expansion of the daily is that not much of it has happened through ad revenues, but by contributions from the local population in various parts of the state. While ad revenues have begun increasing through a small set of growing advertisers in recent times, community support has been the mainstay.
The publication was also more widely accepted now, cutting across political loyalties, said Kumar. He added, “Even when a BJP photograph or news item is not published, they have the access today to call us and ask ‘why’. People read us to see the other side of news – the unique way in which it is presented. We have always given more importance to social issues and to news from various parts of the world.”
The social concern is reflected in stories on untouchables and a survey carried out across 800 ‘mandals’ by the publication’s staff. As a result of a more broad based spread of news, Kumar affirmed that people who once felt that the paper was alien to them did not feel that way anymore.
And the focus on marketing for the publication, which has been ad-less for a large part of its illustrious history, is increasing slowly yet consciously. Said Kumar, “We have learned our lessons. Now we want to concentrate on marketing. While editorially we have seen that the changes we have brought in have been welcomed by readers, we need to focus on advertising also.”
The daily is published by the Prajashakti Sahiti Samastha, which also publishes a weekly on education called ‘Deepika’.
In the next one-and-a-half to two years, the group hopes to make ‘Prajashakti’, which is priced at Rs 2.50, a colour offering. It has already added more colours to the red that it was synonymous with, in the last few years, and managed to do so without deviating from the core of its editorial policy.