Meet the leader. In this round of IRS, Dainik Jagran has yet again emerged as the leader. Its readership has grown from 14,000 thousand to 15,722 thousand – a growth of nearly 13 per cent over last year — no mean feat on such a broad base. And, what brings it all the more cheer is that the newspaper has emerged to be a leader in the urban areas as well.
Shailesh Gupta, Director, Dainik Jagran expounds on the reasons for considerable growth in urban readership, “Punjab helped a lot. Readership shot up from three lac to eight lac and, the maximum increase there, came from three main cities – Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana. That gave us an edge. Besides, we focused on cities on an all India level – both editorially and in terms of marketing.”
Interesting, indeed. But somehow the paper has not been able to win over the Hindi reading populace of the Capital. What stops it from being number one in that market? Gupta responds, “Delhi, though very much a part of our radar is not the focus area at the moment. As far as advertising revenues are concerned, Delhi is a highly English-dominated market – there, it is a different ballgame altogether. You don’t only have to garner readership but also fight the mindset as far as advertisers are concerned. Having said that, we do sell about 3 lac copies there.” He adds, “In SCRs around Delhi, which is the hardcore Hindi belt, Dainik Jagran is a leader.”
The newspaper wants to settle down in Punjab first and make its presence felt in a big way in Uttranchal and Haryana. It is also exploring Bihar and Jharkhand. And, then it would be the time for a hard look on Delhi market.
Any plans to launch a vernacular daily? Gupta is on guard. States he, “We would be launching a language daily soon. Currently we have strong focus on Punjab.” So the plan is to launch a Punjabi paper? Gupta circumvents the question. Nonetheless, he states, “Rural Punjab is rich, you should look at the number of tractors and quality of fertilizer being used there. They do feel the need for a quality Punjabi paper.” Guess, we will wait and watch.
Moving back to the way the paper has been growing, Gupta attributes it to quality content and good marketing. He says, “Till about a decade and a half back, Hindi newspapers were not taken seriously. Jagran concentrated on improving the lot of Hindi newspapers. And, results are for all to see.”
He also states that the paper has not remained stuck to a certain format or style and has changed with the times — at the core of which lies quality research. “Any changes, be it in the content or design are results of serious research. We were the first to go colour in Hindi and again, we were the first Hindi newspaper to add feature pages. We have never made any compromise on colour or style. We were the first ones to have a glaze supplement in a language newspaper,” he avows.
But the times have indeed changed. Mushrooming of TV news channels might be a cause of concern. Does it worry him? “No way!” responds Gupta, “On television you get to know news and not views. Publications not only report but also form an opinion. Real meat lies here — it is where you get in-depth reporting. The way newspapers report has also changed – we provide to-the-point stories – crisp and not with too many frills but the important details are not cut out. We don’t shy away from being analytical as if we have jut two minutes to show a clip.”
Another thing Dainik Jagran has been focusing on is localised news. This is one area that television somehow has not been able to make much of inroads into. As per Gupta, “Localisation brings out the true flavour of the newspapers. We have divided UP in 15-16 sectors and every sector gets its own local news ingredient. At an average we would provide 60 per cent local news, 15 per cent national news and rest of the 25 per cent news would come from varied other areas like entertainment and sports. We are providing a tailor-made copy even for 50-million-plus towns.”
Gupta is as passionate about marketing the newspaper, as he is about the quality of content. “There is no bigger FMCG than newspapers. Our spends on marketing are high. After the launch of Dainik Jagran in Punjab, we contacted nine lac households there to get their point of view on the paper. We then tweaked the paper as per their suggestions and requirements. We don’t only take people’s suggestions but also execute them.”
Coming back to English – language divide, does he see advertisers’ interest increasing in language press in a big way? “Metro markets are getting saturated. And with it the mindset of the advertisers is also changing – at least in our case. We have all the blue-chip companies from Mercedes Benz to British Airways advertising with us,” states Gupta.
But doesn’t English press command a much high CPT than the language press? “Yes, you are right there, states Gupta, “CPT is much higher in English dailies. What we need to figure out is whether they are over-priced or we are under-priced. If you look at readership in higher SECs, we would be second just to The Times of India.”