Tamil weekly Anandha Vikatan has gained the number one position in the segment from Kumudam, with an increase in circulation of 78,564 copies over the last six months, according the ABC figures for the period July to December 2005.
Anandha Vikatan circulated 4,30,534 copies in the July-Dec 2004 period, as against 3,51,970 copies in Jan-June 2004. The growth of 78,564 copies was brought about by a conscious campaign to boost circulation, according to B Srinivasan, Joint Managing Director of the Vikatan Group. Kumudam too has gained, but by a lesser number, moving up from 4,00,165 copies in Jan-June to 4,22,141 copies in July-Dec 2004.
Speaking to exchange4media on the rise in circulation for the weekly, Srinivasan said, "Even when we were not leading in terms of sheer numbers, we have always been seen as number one by readers and advertisers on our content, presentation and other factors. We decided then that there has to be a marketing effort to push the good content that we have."
The company allocated 10 per cent of its revenue to marketing efforts in 2004. The effort manifested itself in the form of an audio-visual and point-of-purchase campaign, which ran up to Rs 3 crore in the last six months. The weekly was also made available at more outlets through a completely overhauled marketing distribution strategy, increasing its reach by over 25 per cent, according to the spokesperson. He added that the television and radio campaigns were focused on Sun TV and Suriyan FM, with TV taking up nearly 80 per cent of the spend. The point-of-purchase material is estimated to have cost the company close to 10 per cent of its budget.
"We focused ourselves as an FMCG company, and tried to reach out to the deepest pockets. After people tried our magazine, many of the readers have become buyers. The efforts have paid off," added Srinivasan. Interestingly, price does not seem to have been a factor in the Tamil weekly market, with Anandha Vikatan being priced higher than Kumudam by a rupee. Currently, Anandha Vikatan is available off the stand at Rs 8, and Kumudam's listed price is Rs 7, according to their ABC certification.
The weekly has also been engaged in having its content and distribution teams visit outlets together, over the last two years. While the content team quizzed the markets on the magazine's reach, marketing and distribution, the marketing team gathered insights about the content. "This was then employed to fine tune the content to give the readers what they wanted, and the partnership initiative between the marketing and content teams will continue into the future also," said the spokesperson.
The IRS R1 2005 figures, though, paint a slightly different picture. While Ananda Vikatan's readership was pegged at 20.20 lakhs, Kumudam's readership in the same period was 27.11 lakhs. Srinivasan said, "I believe that there is something wrong in the methodology as far as readership surveys go. We know that Anandha Vikatan is read by at least two families of five members each. This does not reflect at all in the readership surveys."