After having launched in Delhi with much fanfare last year at a cover price of Rs 10, Diligent Media Corporation’s DNA has revised its pricing. The Delhi edition of the English-language newspaper has now started selling at Rs 5.
While a text message to DNA CEO Jagdish Chandra did not elicit a response, a senior executive from Essel Group said, “We do not comment on pricing.” However, a well-placed source informed us that the decision came after months of contemplation. It was mentioned that with a high cover price of Rs 10, the newspaper was not selling in sufficient volume. Moreover, the revenue targets from Delhi were allegedly not being met, resulting in the void being made up for from Mumbai operations.
The newspaper has witnessed quite a few changes in recent weeks. Besides the appointment of Dwaipayan Bose as editor-in-chief of DNA, the P&L responsibility was additionally handed out to Chandra who was made the chief executive officer. Chandra had earlier been elevated to the position of Executive Director – Regional News Channels at Zee Media Corporation Limited (ZMCL) in February.
Besides bringing in new names at the level of key managerial personnel, ZMCL is also closing in on the process of demerging its print and television business. “The nature of risk and returns involved in both the businesses are distinct from each other and consequently each business or undertaking is capable of attracting a different set of investors, strategic partners, lenders and other stakeholders,” said the ZMCL management in a statement to NSE while explaining the rationale behind the demerger.
Additionally, the variations in foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for television and print played a role in the decision to demerge. While the government has pegged the FDI limit for news broadcasting businesses at 49 per cent, newspapers cannot bring in more than 26 per cent of FDI. Till December 31, 2016, ZMCL’s print business incurred a loss of Rs 5.34 crore (EBITDA) over a period of nine months during the fiscal year 2016-17. The company’s print operations generated revenues of Rs 81.42 crore as opposed to expenditures totalling Rs 86.76 crore.