Andhra Jyothi, one of the three Telugu dailies from Andhra Pradesh with ABC authenticated figures, has claimed a net paid sales of 3,20,000 copies in December 2004 in the state.
Speaking to exchange4media, K R P Reddy, GM-Advertising & Marketing, Andhra Jyothi, said, "The circulation for the period between July and December 2004 was over 2,75,000 per month on an average, and we are awaiting the ABC authentication of this figure in the first week of March. The climb can be attributed to three things - the quality of our editorial content, the thematic full-colour supplements we concpetualised, and engaging the reader through innovative marketing promotions."
On the readership front, however, Andhra Jyothi was a distant third behind Eenadu and Vaartha, the second largest-read Telugu daily in the state, with a readership of 54.4 lakhs (IRS, Round 1, 2004). According to the same figures, Eenadu's readership stood at 89.8 lakhs and Andhra Jyothi's readership was around 13 lakhs. On the promotions run by the competition, A.Narasihman, GM-Advertising for Vaartha, said, "Marketing gimmicks don't really help. It's ultimately the product that counts for the reader." Narasimhan pointed out that Vaartha's lead over Andhra Jyothi was stable. "We have grown from around 6.36 lakh copies circulated per month between January and June 2004 to over 6.5 lakh copies in the subsequent 6 months. The growth during elections was higher because of people buying multiple newspapers during the time", he added.
Reddy said: "The readership study is based on mast-head surveys, and we believe that they do not accurately reflect the readership. We have raised the issue with the MRUC and they have stated that it takes time for the readership figure to stabilise for a new paper. In the next survey, we are hopeful of a readership figure proportionate to our circulation." The RPC or Readership per copy works out to about 5 for Andhra Jyothi. "This is not realistic" added Reddy.
In the period from January to June 2004, Eenadu continued to be the clear leader in the market with a circulation of 10,39,000 copies, and Andhra Bhoomi circulated 51,699 copies for the same period, according to the ABC. Andhra Jyothi had registered a circulation of over 2,51,000 copies in that period according to the same figures.
In the period between October 22 and January 22, 2004, the publication ran a promotion scheme offering a variety of prizes (including a Maruti car as the bumper prize) for its readers, through three coupons published in the paper per month at random.
Another such scheme is being planned to arrest the 'Summer Fall' that newspapers experience between March and May, according to Reddy. "Starting March 01, 2005, a new scheme offering gold will kick off across the18 printing centres of Andhra Jyothi, and each edition will give out gold to readers through this promotion in the months of March, April and May this year", he added. The total value of gold to be given away through the promotion, though not yet decided, is expected to be in the region of Rs.12 to Rs.15 lakhs.
Interestingly, Andhra Jyothi claims to have internal research findings, which establish that over 40 per cent of the new buyers of the paper are 'new newspaper readers'. "The data collected through enrolment forms indicate that 40 per cent of the incremental circulation has come through people who currently do not subscribe to or purchase a daily newspaper. This shows that there is scope to expand the market", said Reddy.
According to the spokesman, Andhra Jyothi has crossed the 4,00,000 print-order mark in the month of January 2005, and expects to achieve a circulation figure of over 3,75,000 per month for the January to June 2005 period in Andhra Pradesh.