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DNA takes its first bite, Times feels the pinch

23-April-2005
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DNA takes its first bite, Times feels the pinch

Many believe that the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) which the Zee-Bhaskar combine is preparing to launch, is going to create a churn in the Mumbai newspaper market. The first ripples are already being felt as DNA is going about putting the top team in place, and the heat is on market leader, The Times of India. The list begins with names like N B Verma, Rizwan Khatri and Jayesh Asher among others from the TOI Response team who are set to join DNA.

Times officials couldn't be contacted for details but informed sources say that apart from the abovementioned names, there are others as well like Anita Khatri and Shashi Sinha of Response, and Somit Sen and S Balakrishnan from editorial, who are looking at DNA.

Meanwhile, Times has taken action wherein senior staffers have been promised incentives to keep them back. While TOI is taking steps to retain its flock, Mumbai's largest newspaper has gone a lot more aggressive than earlier. An example of this can be seen in Times City.

On being contacted, Suresh Balakrishnan, Sales and Marketing Head for DNA, said that while talks are on, nothing has been finalised yet.

However, DNA is moving full-steam ahead. Interviews with journalists are being conducted by a panel comprising DNA Editor-at-large Ayaz Memon, Business Editor R Jagannathan and well-known film critic Khalid Mohammed.

DNA's media buying agency MindShare has ensured that the noise it has made in the market is adequate and that this will only grow nearer to the launch. The paper is aiming at a mid-August launch. The marketing campaign, which saw a phased rollout, now has included even celebrities. "It is a seamless integration," said Balakrishnan. "Yash Chopra and Dolly Thakur are just as much Mumbai-ites as the rest of the people shown in the campaign."

From the look of it, quite a lot of action is on the anvil from the Zee-Bhaskar combine, which will bring out DNA under a joint venture company, Diligent Media.

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