In order to strengthen its national footprint, English daily Hindustan Times is shifting its focus more on non-metro cities now. In recent months, Hindustan Times has intensified its marketing and editorial activities for its regional editions. Now, to oversee all operational issues concerning non-Delhi, non-Mumbai editions, group has entrusted Rajesh Mahapatra with additional responsibilities.
When contacted to get more details on HT’s regional plans Sanjoy Narayan, Editor, Hindustan Times, refused to say anything on this, citing it an ‘internal matter’. But a company official on the terms of anonymity noted that there have been lots of initiatives taken by the group for its regional editions in recent months. “Group is focusing more on states like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh as these are the two states where the English speaking consumers are growing significantly,” noted the official.
For Uttar Pradesh and Punjab editions, HT has launched an entertainment supplement. Also, city specific pages like ‘Dehradun Live’, ‘Ludhiana Live’, ‘Chandigarh Live’ were added to the main newspaper to give readers more local content. The company official stated, “Soon, newspaper will also organise town hall gatherings in various cities to discuss the core the issues of the area. Continuation of these initiatives can be seen in the coming months for other regional editions too.”
In an internal email, Narayan of Hindustan Times wrote, “Hindustan Times has successfully consolidated its leadership position in Delhi and emerged a clear No. 2 in Mumbai over the past year. Moving forward, we want to build on this success and replicate it in other locations in order to strengthen our national footprint. Our regional editions in Chandigrah, Lucknow, Jaipur, Bhopal, Indore, Patna, Ranchi and Kolkata have already embarked on this mission. Several initiatives were taken through last year to scale up their content and enhance visibility. The results have been very encouraging. It is time we turn to an overarching editorial strategy for these editions – a strategy that would include continuous content upgradation, monitoring competition, building brand equity and creating synergies across locations.”
Mahapatra is appointed with the responsibility of developing and executing such a strategy. He will also oversee all operational issues concerning non-Delhi, non-Mumbai editions. While Narayan remains their Manager, Resident Editors of these editions will functionally report to Mahapatra. Mahapatra will also work to deepen the interface their editions and staff in Delhi and Mumbai with those in other locations. In Delhi, Rajesh will continue to drive HTU and supervise research work.