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<I>Today</i> ready to make a promising debut this afternoon

29-April-2002
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<I>Today</i> ready to make a promising debut this afternoon

Amit Agnihotri

The much-anticipated afternoon paper from India Today group would debut in Delhi, this afternoon. Canned with fresh perspective and loads of attitude, will this racy newspaper change the mediascape like its cousin Aajtak did? Well, it looks all set.

Before we dwell into detail, some quick stats on Today. The price point is convenient Rs 2 and would be available ‘post lunch.’ The paper would cover variety of news, gup-shup and city issues in all of 16 pages and the initial print run is 50,000 copies. Ambitious? Given that somewhat comparable Mid-Day, in Mumbai, draws maximum off takes from ‘Local’ train stations (no parallel available in Delhi yet) and Delhi has two strong supplements from leading newspapers, how does Today differentiate and gain readership?

In a special preview of Today , and its strategies, to exchange4media, we found some of the answers. “Look, the city and its inhabitants have changed. People have become more news conscious. And they are commuting longer than ever. They also are more of a ‘outdoor person’ today. That builds a case for an afternoon newspaper,” rationalises Kalli Purie, Publisher of Today . Purie has been working fulltime, for last 3 months, on format, treatment of news and personality of the newspaper and is confident of its acceptance.

Sanjay Mallik, Associate Publisher, India Today and a core team member of Today project gives another rationale. “In this fast paced environment, we all need a break. A relief. This paper will be that! Much like the coffee and cigarette break,” says Mallik.

Media watchers too feel that the market has a segment that this newspaper can potentially fit in. “Yes, the slot exists. The average office-goer has become more hungry for news and the long evening drive downs offer an opportunity to sample,” opines Sunandan Chaudhury, VP Media Services at Universal McCann.

Assuming that the need exists, how does Today differentiate from the morning newspaper and increasingly glamorous supplements? And, in a scattered city like Delhi, distribution is no mean task.

Today is actually a hybrid city paper – that has news of the main paper and the pizzazz of supplement, all in a racy and breezy style. The 16 pages will have, apart from news, pages like ‘Diva’ on Women, ‘Plan of Action’ for planning the day and Time Out on travel,” explains Purie spreading out a dummy of Today . To us, it certainly looked peppy and exciting.

Mallik, in charge of marketing and distribution agrees that the task is not straight forward. “To be effective, we need to go beyond the traditional bounds. We have identified the ‘touch points’ of our potential readers and will create marketing activity around it. Our own publication (read India Today) and local city options like Outdoor and Radio will be leveraged innovatively,” says Mallik as he lays out his marketing plan.

Right! Given the lineage and recent success, one expects a sound strategy and superlative content. What are the expectations for Today ? “Last year was a great year for the group with runaway success of AajTak and later India Today Conclave. We are sure that this year too will be fantastic. Radio Today and Today , the newspaper is ready to roll!” says Purie.

Well, if past is any indicator, Today might well change the mediascape, at least in Delhi.

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