The speculation as to who will enter the Mumbai market first, DNA or Hindustan Times, has ended. Hindustan Times has announced July 14, 2005 as the launch date for its Mumbai edition.
Speaking to exchange4media, Anand Bhardwaj, Vice-President, Marketing, HT Media Limited, said, “We are targeting the top end consumers and looking at a circulation of two lakh to begin with. We want to stabilise it at that level before we start building our circulation further.”
On being asked about the marketing strategy, Bhardwaj explained that it would be a two-stage process. “The first stage will focus on building the brand in a new market like Mumbai by targeting the discerning English reader. In stage two, we will build the circulation,” he said.
But how has the strategy been different from that of DNA’s? Said Bhardwaj, “I feel that DNA has adopted a mass strategy where they are targeting not only the English-speaking but also non-English-speaking households, trying to entice them to buy an English daily. We on the other hand will concentrate in the initial year specifically on households that subscribe to English newspapers.”
He further added that Hindustan Times has always stood for high quality journalism and the publication will aim to build the same image in the Mumbai market by providing quality content, analysis and perspective. “The response has been good from the segment we are targeting. In fact, we have almost met our annual target straightaway. We want to build quality circulation instead of just increasing sales numbers,” Bhardwaj said.
Though Bhardwaj refrained from commenting on the pricing strategy, he mentioned that there would be an introductory offer for subscribers. The pricing will be disclosed later today.
The battle of English newspapers in the Mumbai market, ruled unchallenged by The Times of India over decades, is finally set for the real action. Can The Times hold back the challenge to its bastion?