Jammu-based English daily ‘State Times’ has recently launched a Delhi edition. Though the official launch has not taken place, the newspaper is currently on a test launch phase. The idea behind the launch of ‘State Times’ in Delhi is to better the image of J&K in India and internationally. It also aims to reach the expatriate Kashmiri population residing in Delhi.
The newspaper, with a tagline ‘Bold voice of Jammu and Kashmir’, is 15 years old in J&K and owned by Raj Daluja, who is Chairman of State Times Group. The Group also has a diversified business of trading and manufacturing Indian manufactured foreign liquor (IMFL), as well as manufacturing of mineral water, besides running two public schools and two colleges in Jammu.
“The reason for us to come to Delhi is that the image of J&K in the Indian media is projected incorrectly. The image portrayed is that of a terror-torn and poor state. There are a lot of misconceptions about J&K in minds of the common man in the country. We feel that there is a need to present the state without dilution of information,” said Raj Daluja, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, State Times.
“Another reason for us to come to Delhi is that J&K is on a constant vigil by national and international agencies and media alike, and therefore it is our responsibility to present the state in true colour to all concerned,” Ajay Kumar, COO, State Times.
Kumar has over 20 years’ experience in the media industry in various capacities. He was associated with The Times of India Group, Hindustan Times, Gujarati newspaper Sandesh, Oman Daily Observer, Oman Tribune and ETV Rajasthan.
“Our primary target group in Delhi is the one lakh expat population who are interested to know about developments in the state of J&K. Most of these people from the target group are educated and are either into government jobs, research students, business or are self-employed. Secondly, we also expect that all policy makers, bureaucrats, politicians and armed forces personnel would be interested in our newspaper,” added Kumar.
“We have all potential to attract advertisers, but media planners need to think in a wider perspective and be more positive. Most media planners come with a prejudiced image about the state, but the fact is people in J&K are prosperous, educated and employed either in government services or are self-employed, and I have statistics to prove this. What other criteria does a media planner look for, when people have the buying capacity?” Kumar wondered.
The promotional activities for the Delhi edition of ‘State Times’ would include on-ground activities like community meetings and one-to-one contact programmes, and below-the-line activities like mailers to reach the B2B readers. The Group also has plans to tie up with a prominent website for content and revenue sharing.
Twenty per cent of the content would be based on Delhi, while the rest 80 per cent would be J&K specific. At present, the newspaper has two colour pages and a supplement for Sundays called ‘Sunday Supplement’.
The newspaper has plans to initially print 50,000 copies and then hike the number with the increase in demand. The newspaper has been priced at Rs 2 and has 12 pages.
“We also have plans to come up with Srinagar, Chandigarh and Ludhiana editions shortly, as also sections on migrants from Bihar and the Southern states. We have tried to be trendy with our content. While it has hard core news at one end, it also has information related to career, gadgets and entertainment.”