Mid-Day’s decision to discontinue its morning edition recently to focus on its afternoon edition in Mumbai and its YUMPI readership has got mixed reactions from media planners. While Mid-Day officials said that the advertisers clearly understood their pitch, media planners also felt that this would result in further negotiation on the rates.
Manajit Ghoshal, CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia Ltd, explained, “This step is one in a series of steps that Mid-Day has taken to improve its focus and deliver on its promise of giving an entertaining newsbreak to working professionals in the middle of the day. When Mid-Day had started its morning distribution many years ago, the scenario was very different. There were only two newspapers in Mumbai city and the morning space was available for expansion. Now, with so many papers competing for the morning readers, the morning segment has become extremely cluttered and the media offerings in the morning space have become commoditised.”
He insisted, “The advertisers clearly understand our pitch and are happy to have a distinct product with a distinct positioning in a cluttered market place.”
Speaking on the circulation and readership, Ghoshal asserted, “There is no decrease in the print order or circulation of Mid-Day. All copies of the morning edition have been redirected in the afternoon channel. In fact, some copies that were going to homes have been redirected to offices and are resulting in higher pass around and, therefore, higher readership. There are some operational hiccups in rechanneling the distribution to the afternoon segment, this will take a couple of days to overcome.”
Not much impact would be seen
Media planners, too, opined that there would be hiccups, but not to a major extent. The step taken by Mid-Day would only result in media planners negotiating further on rates with the publication.
Sudha Natrajan, Chief Operating Officer and Joint President, Lintas Media Group, said, “For most people, whether it is readers or the planners, Mid-Day is always known as an afternooner, which has been the mainstay of the business. I don’t think we are going to be terribly affected because we have quite a lot of choice amongst different papers. It’s not going to be much of an affect for us as much as it is going to be somewhat of an affect for Mid-Day. The reason for why they have stopped it is obviously because the advertising revenue that they were getting out of morning Mid-Day was not enough compensation for the cost that was going into publishing it. The economy is really not working out. This is not the first paper that has done something like this. Almost all media houses are coming up with all kinds of measures to avoid any further losses. Mid-Day’s step will definitely result in further negotiation on the rates.”
Likewise, Nikhil Rangnekar, Executive Director, India - West, Starcom Worldwide, said, “If people are really interested in Mid-Day, they will definitely prefer Mid-Day. There would be enough people who will shift to afternoon editions, if morning Mid-Day is not available. Initially, Mid-Day will feel the pinch, but later I believe it will be all right.” He further said, “We believe that the circulation and readership will drop somewhat after the closure of the morning edition, but there will be not much impact as such. The drop in circulation and readership will only result in further negotiation on the rates. We will have to negotiate further on what rate should be on the basis of drop in circulation and readership. But this will not last for too long.”
Similarly, Sanjay Sharma, GM, Mediacom, said, “Mid-Day has always been an afternooner, their positioning is very strong and that has continued to remain constant. Therefore, I think the step taken by Mid-Day will not have an impact as such overall. There will be a drop in circulation and readership, but this will only result in negotiation on the rates for some days, but not for too long. Whatever Mid-Day has done is because of the current market condition. According to me, any which way, morning Mid-Day was really not making sense for them.”
Chandradeep Mitra, former President of Mudra Max, noted, “I think the decision is largely a business decision, which we understand. At this point of time, no organisation can afford to have non-profitable part of business. The Mid-Day morning edition was not earning enough, so it is sensible decision. Most of the media companies are doing the same thing. A lot of companies who were earlier on expansion spree are now coming back and focussing on their core product and discontinuing the support part of the business, which were using money. That’s what Mid-Day has done, because it has always been an afternooner. From the media planners’ point of view, the decision will be taken on the basis of the total numbers that they deliver. Unfortunately, the numbers will suffer for sometime, but that is a reality and they will have to bear it.”
Mid-Day focuses on single afternoon edition in Mumbai for greater YUMPI connect