The print market in Coimbatore is seeing lot of action with the launch of Deccan Chronicle on December 28, 2010 and then The Times of India gearing up to launch in few weeks’ time. The New Indian Express has gone colour recently and then there is The Hindu, which has been the leader in this market. The consensus being that the market will expand and in fact, the fight now is to be the second newspaper in homes.
Talking about their launch, Darshan M, COO, Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd, said, “For us, launching the Coimbatore edition is a logical extension of our brand having met with success in the Chennai market. We have seen from our experience that readers are willing to have a paper that will appeal to the young minds. Even when we launched in Chennai, there were people who questioned our move, but in the end, we proved them wrong by emerging a strong player in the market.”
While The Hindu enjoys the numero uno position, the fight in this market is clearly to be the second newspaper.
The Times of India is in the midst of preparing for its entry in Coimbatore in a few weeks’ time. Rahul Kansal, Chief Marketing Officer, Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd, said, “Coimbatore is a buoyant market with a good mix of being progressive while maintaining its cultural tradition. We want to be present in the Tamil Nadu market, hence it makes sense to go beyond Chennai and be present in Coimbatore as the city is vibrant both commercially and culturally.”
He added, “Our long term goal is definitely to be a leader in the English newspaper market in every city that we are present. But it would be a skewed vision if we looked at replacing The Hindu in a short span, which has been the leader in this market and has loyal readers.”
Though The Hindu is the leader in this market, it is not sitting still in view of the new entrants in the market, especially The Times of India. It is reviewing its content and looking at ways to further connect with the readers and step up its publicity efforts.
Talking about the market, N Murali, Managing Director, The Hindu, said, “The Hindu has been a dominant player in the south market, and we have seen that though our readership declines a bit with a new entrant, it isn’t really threatening as we still manage to have a majority share in the market. In fact, competition is good in some ways as it makes for overall vibrancy in the market and helps the incumbent in improving customer connect and find ways to improve the product. We have been able to hold our own. I do believe that there is space for newspapers of different variety and each one will ride on its own strength.”
Murali admitted, “The Times of India is a force to reckon with and one cannot underestimate them as they have a unique way of capturing the flavour of the city they are present in.” At the same time he affirmed, “However, The Hindu is known for its credibility and has its loyal readers. It’s actually a myth that our paper is not for the youth, as we do have sections like entertainment that would appeal to them.”
Meanwhile, citing IRS results for the last two years – 2009 and 2010 – Anilkumar Sathiraju, Associate VP & Head South, Mudra Max, had a few observations to make on the Coimbatore market:
• Print medium is on the decline year-on-year, while TV is quite stable – a worrying factor for print
• Within print, dailies are showing signs of stability; English dailies base is significantly lower than Tamil dailies
• Existing lead players, both Tamil and English, are showing a decline in readership