Planning to have a wider presence, Lokmat has introduced Kolhapur edition – making the Marathi wing 13-edition strong and 18 in total. Publication officials inform that with the new edition, the paper has covered the Maharashtra market well and is now looking forward to launch more Hindi and English editions.
“Till now, we had a Sanghli edition, which was circulated in Kolhapur too,” says Rishi Darda, Executive Director, Lokmat Group of Publication, “But we want to make a stronger presence in the markets of Kolhapur. We have a print order of 55,000 copies initially and we are already looking at increasing prints.” The first edition from Kolhapur hit the stand on August 20.
Darda further informs that the group has launched the edition ensuring all details are in place. “We have set up latest machinery and equipment in Kolhapur and a full-fledged editorial wing to ensure that everything about this edition goes as per the market needs,” he says.
Lokmat had preceded the launch with a survey of the market to gauge the present market conditions and the needs and wants of the people. “We had a team of 225 people on board working only as campaigners, going door to door to find out what people liked in other newspapers and what they expected from Lokmat,” shares Darda.
The survey was done in two stages. The first was from September to December 2003 and the second during the Lok Sabha election period. Darda explains, “The idea was to get a better insight of the change in reading patterns during such events. This would help us during the assembly elections or any other important political event.”
As per the current publication scene in Kolhapur market, the leading player there is Pudhari, with a print mark of 99,000. Pudhari is priced at Rs 2, while Lokmat’s Kolhapur edition comes for Re 1. The group is planning to maintain the price for at least one year. The 20-pager Marathi daily offers 24 pages on Sundays. Speaking more on the content, Darda elucidates, “We have decided to drop the strategy of offering of film supplements, which is followed by every newspaper. We realised that people look at entertainment more than that and so we have introduced more pages on entertainment in the newspaper. Instead, we will give niche supplements that will target youth, women, children and a separate one on Sundays.”
The group rolled out marketing campaigns in the first week of August and is planning to keep them on for the next six months. The campaigns speak more on the content of the paper, aiming at forming a connect with the readers in Kolhapur.
Sharing more on the future plans of the group, Darda says, “We already have three Hindi editions, which have the largest readership in Maharashtra – in fact, more than Navbharat and Navbharat Times as per IRS. We also have two English publications. We are now working towards bringing more of these in the market.”