Dainik Jagran Group took a marketing initiative starting July 2002 to increase its readership. The market, well, this time its not Western UP, Rajasthan, or Bihar, it's the once forgotten Punjab. However, it is the next battleground of the major Hindi newspapers groups. The groups include Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran and the present market leader, Punjab Kesari. While Dainik Bhaskar sells its editions in Chandigarh and Patiala, Amar Ujala sells in Chandigarh and Haryana.
The state is one of the richest states in India, with per capita income of Rs. 18,200, population of about 203 lakhs and literacy levels touching 58.5%. Though the figures are enough to show the potential of the market, Alok Sanwal, General Manager, Brand Development, Dainik Jagran, cites another reason, "Despite the high literacy levels, the penetration levels of the daily newspapers is just about 42%, if we compare that with a market like Kanpur the penetration levels are as high as 70%. So, we want to address this gap." Dainik Jagran started selling in Punjab in October 1999, but remained unsatisfied with their growth. With this belief in the potential of the market, early this year they commissioned ORG Marg to conduct a market research with an aim of increasing their readership in the state.
The research, though limited to three major cities Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar, provides key insights into the psyche of Punjab reader. And 'yes', he is different from a reader of UP or Bihar, explains Sanwal, "Typically, a Punjab reader is not very serious about news, his newspaper does not have to be sensational, vibrancy is important but a it should be a family newspaper." The clue: colorful pictures add to the vibrancy of the newspapers, risqué pictures would make it uncomfortable to read it at home. But, is a market research enough to capture significant share of readership? The market leader 'Punjab Kesari', is believed to be firmly rooted in the minds of the readers.
Though the industry believes, the leader has become complacent with improper delivery schedules. Punjab Kesari, being the only private media group to stand against the terrorist attacks in the late 1980's is deeply attached to the lives of the Punjab readers.
Post research Dainik Jagran has carried extensive promotional campaigns including personal contact campaigns to increase the awareness level of the newspaper among the Punjab readers. At this, Sanwal says, "We have achieved conversion rates of approximately 35% of the households contacted through the campaigns we have done." Though the group is confident of achieving significant increase in readership figures, the increase can only be confirmed until the next round of IRS and NRS.