Journalism is now an ever-expanding domain, with social media platforms and technology playing an incisive role. Here are some insights on what newspapers should be aware of in order to survive, sustain, and evolve with today’s technology-driven, short-attention-span and fast-paced world. There is no single mantra that can ensure success for a newspaper looking to expand to newer markets. The way is to adopt an incisive, well thought-out strategy and think out of the box to widen the reach and connect with readers.
Well-defined target audience: Before entering a new market, a newspaper must ensure that it has a well defined market in terms of the target group of buyers. An extensive market research gave a clear insight into the huge gap that existed between the market leader and all the other Hindi Dailies in MP.
The pattern was clearly monopolistic as reflected by the soaring ad rates and declining readership over the years.
Laid out organisational objectives: This aspect goes a long way in laying down the right foundations for any newspaper entering a new market. What is most important for the management is to link the organisational objectives with the unmet needs of potential buyers. Rightly designed objectives would go a long way in connecting with the target buyers as it would attract more involvement making it easier for the target buyers to identify with the newspaper.
Identifying and zeroing-in on potential customers: Before Patrika entered the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh market, the market had huge gap between the erstwhile leader and the other players. Thus, indicating a clear potential of positioning for Patrika – the light of true journalism. If the readers are the eyes and the reflection for any newspaper, the advertising revenue is the life and blood that helps attain sustained success.
So, it’s important to understand the aspects and features of existing newspapers that the readers and advertisers are dissatisfied with. Some of the features from the readers’ perspective that need to be carefully analyzed are the satisfaction levels with length, breadth, depth, and integrity of information dissemination. On the same lines, the advertisers’ perspectives are primarily the reach, penetration and the value proposition delivered to their ad expenditure.
Identifying the opportunities: Notably, quite a few of the well known newspaper brands failed to bring about change in the monopolistic nature of the market. In a nutshell, opportunity identification should cover the following points-
• Identifying Newer Set of Buyers i.e. the potential and prospective segment of readers that have thus far remained untapped.
• Coming up with innovative and newer ways or means to satisfy the unmet needs of readers that have thus far kept them away from reading newspapers.
• Determining whether an identified opportunity is consistent and in lines with the organization’s business objectives, mission, and its competencies.
Understanding the Feasibility and Relevance: Any newspaper that is planning to expand its horizons must consciously avoid falling prey to financially luring business opportunities that are not in line with the organisation’s business objectives and long term goals.
The importance of not falling for luring and attractive financial deals becomes even more fatal, especially during the start of a new operation in an entirely new territory. Before the MP market entry, Rajasthan Patrika was aware of the potential threats from external agents, one of which was the financially lucrative but detrimental deals.
Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation: Before the launch of the newspaper in a new market, an accurate evaluation of the potential market opportunities needs to be carried out in order to get the exact picture of the existing competition and scope for a new-entrant. The market evaluation should comprise of both, the qualitative and quantitative evaluation phases that render the analysis accurate reliability.
• Qualitative parameters help evaluate and project the likelihood of capitalizing on a Market Niche.
• Quantitative parameters help calculate the yield estimates of market sales potential and forecast company sales.
Porter’s 5-Forces Model: One of the path-breaking and most accurate models that helps any industry entrant in analyzing the competition and determining business strategy is the 5-forces model of Dr. Michael Porter and its relevance with regard to the entry of a newspaper in a new market better not be questioned. The most important of the five forces that need to be adhered to is the Force of ‘Level of competitive activities and threat of new entrants.’ Patrika adhered to this model at every stage. As Victor Hugo said, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
(Dr Arvind Kalia, National Head - Marketing, Rajasthan Patrika Group.)