Mid-Day Infomedia, a subsidiary of Mid-Day Multimedia, which includes the print and dotcom businesses, is on an aggressive growth mode. While the print editions in Bangalore, Delhi and Pune are relatively new, the Mumbai edition has already completed 30 years. Currently, Mid-Day in Mumbai has a circulation in the range of 200,000 and is eyeing an additional 60,000 to 70,000 copies in the metro. Mid-Day has a circulation of 75,000 in Delhi, 65,000 in Bangalore, and 25,000 in Pune, and is looking at an increase of over 20 per cent.
Mid-Day is extensively focusing on increasing its circulation and readership – a 30-40 per cent increase in readership in Mumbai and Pune, while 5-10 per cent increase in Delhi and Bangalore. Mumbai remains the fastest growing and primary growth driving market for the paper.
Besides this, Mid-Day has already announced a hike around the weightage of 15 per cent in its ad rates, which would be effective beginning May 1, 2010. The last time Mid-Day had increased its ad rates was almost two years back. Through this hike, Mid-Day is looking at a revenue growth of 20-25 per cent in the top line over the last year.
Citing the reasons for the hike, Manajit Ghoshal, MD and CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia Ltd, told exchange4media, “The market has improved, there is a buzz around the Mid-Day brand and, therefore, it is now time to go for a minor increase in ad rates, but primarily the hike is because we are making a concerted effort in increasing circulation and readership, and we are looking at an almost 30-40 per cent increase in terms of readership in cities like Mumbai and Pune. Whereas in Delhi and Bangalore, we are looking at a 5-10 per cent increase in readership, hence there is a concerted effort to increase the readership.”
While there have been innumerable debates and worry over the sustainability of print media with the advent of digital media, Ghoshal highlights the importance of integration of digital solutions and that the market stops seeing digital as a separate medium, but a 360 degree solution for the client.
He explained, “We try to ensure that our clients and agencies do realise the importance of integrating digital solutions. It is also a learning process for us and at the same time educating the market, because the market is not yet prepared to understand the entire spread that digital can bring to client solutions. The market should, therefore, not look at digital as a separate medium per se, but more as a 360 degree solution for the client.”
While Mid-Day is the only afternoon tabloid present nationally, creating a significant difference as compared to its competition, it also claims to be the single biggest afternoon tabloid in the country. What also differentiates the paper from the competition is its ability to integrate with digital medium, as a result of which, their website is said to be soon reaching nearly 16-17 million page views, thereby growing at around 150 per cent in the digital platform, both in terms of traffic and revenues.
Speaking on the success of the website, Ghoshal said, “We are clear that we are not repositioning the newspaper content on the site, because if you are going to just dump the newspaper content on the website, then that will be a mere extension and the website will have no identity of its own. Today, our web product has created an identity of its own that is separate from the paper. This apart, substantial number of traffic comes from outside India and this in itself demonstrates that we are attracting additional audience.”
On challenges facing the industry:
Being relevant to the readers and high newsprint cost are some of the challenges for print media. Meanwhile, Mid-Day is looking at monetising the power of innovation.
According to Ghoshal, “For print media per se, it is a question of relevance to the readers, because the readers have got a variety of options today. Secondly, it’s the increasing cost of newsprint prices, which have been going around $525 to almost $650 in the current year. So, these two will be the biggest challenges for the print industry.”
He further said, “For Mid-Day, on the other hand, it’s going to be about ensuring that we are able to monetise the positioning as an innovative and 360 degree solution brand. The power of innovation has to come to the fore and we have to be able to monetise that power of innovation.”
The road ahead:
Mid-Day aims to continue focusing on innovations in the year 2010. Already in February, Mid-Day introduced a technology called ‘Quick Response code technology’, which enables readers to read the hard copy of the paper as well as view audio-visual linked file to the key stories on their cell phones, and the very recent marketing initiative, wherein the company distributed 12,000 ‘cutting chai’ glasses branded with the Mid-Day logo all over Mumbai at key locations.
“The worst is past, while the last two years have been bad, 2010 is of great hope in terms of media spends for print and digital. The days of cost cutting and surviving are over and everyone is now looking at expansion and more ad spends,” he concluded on a positive note.