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Jharkhand print war: Offers, combos add muscle to dailies’ plans

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Jharkhand print war: Offers, combos add muscle to dailies’ plans

What it takes to survive in a highly competitive market, newspaper players in Jharkhand know it well. Before the launch of the fourth Hindi newspaper player in the market, some intense price war and outdoor campaign was seen. Now, with fresh offerings for readers and advertisers, publications are continuing to differentiate their product. exchange4media finds out from the leading players in Jharkhand how these past few months have been and what activities they have been undertaking to maintain their hold on the market.

While quite a few newspapers are wooing the readers with various gift offers, it’s the ‘combo’ way for Dainik Jagran with i-Next on the one hand, and Hindustan with Hindustan Times on the other. “We have emerged as leaders in the market with Dainik Jagran + i-next,” claimed Sunil Gupta, Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd. Jagran is also focussing on advertisers with special schemes. Gupta said, “Local advertisers have been given special celebratory offers on advertising.”

Meanwhile, after launching its Ranchi edition in all colour pages, Prabhat Khabar introduced a reader scheme, called ‘Pathak Inami Yojna’, in August to retain its existing readers and the new readers who had started reading Prabhat Khabar after the price cut. “We are trying to improve our product quality in terms of layout, content, printing, etc., to attract more readers,” said KK Goenka, MD, Prabhat Khabar.

He further said, “We are offering schemes to the advertisers, too, as per the need of the market and competitors’ strategy. It may change from time to time.”

For Hindustan, it’s the content peg to woo young readers. Vijay Singh, National Sales Head, Hindustan, informed that ‘Jano English’, the latest supplement added to their portfolio, had been very well received by the readers and advertising fraternity alike. “Further, with the latest reader promotion, the readers also stand to win big prizes with their favourite newspaper,” he added.

Moreover, in the domain of education, Hindustan had launched Hindustan Pratibha Samman a few months back, which is an initiative to discover talent and reward young achievers for their academic performance. “Hindustan felicitated over a thousand students in the state and out these, two students were awarded scholarships of Rs 1 lakh in recognition of their efforts,” Singh said.

Jharkhand war – A rewind

It may be recalled that prior to the launch of Daink Bhaskar in the state, some of the most talked about campaigns in Ranchi were ‘Jharkhand Ki Marzee’ from Hindustan, and ‘Jharkhand Jagran’ from Dainik Jagran. After the price cut announcement, Prabhat Khabar had launched its ‘Ab Padhega Pura Jharkhand’ campaign. Hindustan’s campaign was along similar lines with its price drop campaign – ‘Jharkhand Ki Marzee - Ghar Ghar mein tarakki’. The communication emphasised how a price drop would take the newspaper to a wider reader base and spell out progress for the state.

Anticipating the entry of a fourth player in the market, the top three players had slashed their cover prices. When asked whether lowering the cover price helped in adding circulation or readership numbers, Gupta of Jagran replied, “Pricing does play a role in building up circulation numbers in the short run. A lower cover price will help, provided all the other elements in the marketing mix are taken care of. It is important to understand that these are dynamic market situations and the impact of a lower price can be nullified by competitive reaction, as has been seen across a range of categories over the past few years. Pricing, on its own, has a limited role.”

Hindustan’s Singh remarked, “With the cover price drop, there’s a significant market expansion that happens. This is bound to yield better readership numbers in times to come. The cover price reduction has helped us increase our circulation base by more than 50 per cent, thereby implying a large ‘New Reader’ base being added.”

Goenka of Prabhat Khabar, too, said that lowering of the cover price in Jharkhand had paid off well. He claimed, “Lowering of cover price has increased our circulation numbers substantially. I think circulation of all the existing players have gone up. As per our assessment, the number of copies has gone up by 2-2.5 lakh in overall Jharkhand after the cover price reduction. Since Prabhat Khabar was the first mover, we got the maximum benefit.”

While, all top three players are busy chalking out their strategies, the new entrant, Dainik Bhaskar, is not willing to reveal its future plans and initiatives in the state. However, most of the newspapers are claiming various growth numbers; all these figures need certification of ABC and reflection in readership is likely to be visible in the next readership survey report of IRS. Till then, this is really a vibrant market that we are watching.

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