Bennett, Coleman & Co. (BCCL) has launched an initiative with the objective to increase, as Times officials put it, Mumbai Mirror's exposure. Beginning today, the organisation has decided to give a copy of Mumbai Mirror free with The Times of India. The printing of Mirror in the Hindustan Times printing plant also commences today.
"The idea is to expose Mumbai Mirror to the discerning audience of the Times of India," says Bhaskar Das, Brand Director, Mumbai Mirror, "Mirror caters to a complimentary taste space and would be preferred by the Times of India reader. We believe that the readers will see an exciting proposition in Mirror and so we are executing this exercise."
Das didn't offer much on how long the exercise would continue stating, "There is nothing fixed on that yet. This is a step for the readers, we respect their judgement and based on that, as and when the time is right and the purpose of this initiative is fulfilled, we will take the next step."
Until then, ToI readers have an extra paper. While for ToI, this is an important move for the development of the paper, for other industry players, the opinions vary. Mid Day's Group Publisher, Rajesh Tahil says, "It sounds more like any of the supplements that Times has and I just wish them luck in getting some readers for it. For us, I don't think it matters much. It just looks like a desperate attempt to get some reader attention."
For the forthcoming paper, The Daily News & Analysis (DNA) the move is an interesting one. "It reminds of a time, almost ten years back, when the Times tried the same thing The Independent," says Suresh Balakrishnan, Marketing Head, DNA, "It didn't really seem to work for them then and that was the end of Independent. It would be interesting to see how it turns out this time."
The printing in the HT facility commences today. Throwing more light on this, Ravi Dhariwal, Executive Director, BCCL informs, "That is how the plan is and going by that we would be printing over 5 lakh copies of Mumbai Mirror. What this initiative shows is that we have faith in this product and we are backing it a hundred per cent. People who have read it like it, we are just ensuring that a lot more readers and essentially, the Times readers, who are very important to us definitely get a chance to read the paper."
The war between Mirror and Mid Day began on day 1 of Mirror's launch and has gone on since then, despite the fact that at least editorially neither claims to be like the other. As for how things further change from here - the whole media fraternity at least is eager to know, even if the readers aren't.