The Mumbai print scene is witnessing differentiated strategies to lure the reader. While Daily News and Analysis (DNA) has embarked on a consumer survey backed by strong media campaigns, Hindustan Times is also carrying out a consumer survey, though on a more muted level. The paper appears to be preparing for an early-July launch.
HT officials refrained from offering any comments on the survey or any other aspect regarding its Mumbai edition launch. Informed sources, however, divulged that the survey had begun in April. The questionnaire is on similar lines as that of DNA, wherein the participant was asked the paper he read, how he rated the paper, why he read that paper and what he would like in a paper?
The surveyors leave behind a HT calendar and a letter from Editorial Director Vir Sanghvi, which speaks about HT being a quality paper making its foray in the Mumbai market. Sources also said that the paper was initially aiming for a mid-June launch which had now been pushed to July.
Looking at the broader picture, DNA is being launched by the Zee-Bhaskar combine, and for the Bhaskar group, consumer research is a tried and tested tool. The paper used it first in the Jaipur market in Rajasthan and then followed it in markets like Gujarat. If expert comments and data are anything to go by, the strategy has always worked for them. The participant is not visited once but also after the paper is in place, where the organisation thanks him for the contribution he made in the compilation of the content outline.
What do these surveys actually do for the papers? For Jeffrey Crasto, President, MPG, the answer is simple. "They establish a connect between the paper and the reader. It is a direct marketing exercise of sorts."
Sandip Tarkas, CEO, Media Direction, believes that such surveys do help in evolving quality content for a paper. "The reader can give some idea of innovative or differentiated content that the paper's editorial might not have otherwise thought of. However, more importantly, when the paper is in place, the reader will feel good that something he suggested was incorporated in the paper and that is likely to happen in most cases."
Such surveys evidently serve a stronger marketing purpose than just content development. In the case of DNA, no stone has been left unturned to create awareness around its launch. HT is doing so too but in a much quieter way. Whose strategy works better will be soon established for all to see.