In conversation with exchange4media, Vivek Khanna, Head - Hindi Business, Hindustan, shares the key focus areas for Hindustan in 2014 and why print players are gaga over the Bihar market.
What are the trends that you seen in print media in 2014? What are your expectations from the Bihar market this year?
I think more and more companies will integrate print and digital; focus on digital will continue to grow up in terms of readership. We expect new launches taking place across the industry.
Bihar is a market where Hindustan is extremely strong; readers in Bihar have supported us for 27 years and we have a very strong product there. All research shows that we are way ahead of competition. We understand the requirements of readers in Bihar and we expect that we will continue to do extremely well in Bihar.
Why are print players so bullish on the Bihar market?
We have seen that where there are two players, there has been the entry of third or fourth players. Across other states, too, there are three or four players present. More and more people are looking at the growth phenomenon and opportunities in small towns. I think the focus has shifted to Bihar market because of a new entrant, Dainik Bhaskar.
What role will the Lok Sabha Elections play as far as advertising is concerned?
If we go by what has happened in the earlier elections, clearly political parties and candidates will advertise across media platforms in a big way. These elections should be no different; we saw how heavily political parties and poll candidates advertised in the recently concluded elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, so we are expecting advertising to pick up in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.
When it comes to election zones and non-election zones, the Election Commission’s code of conduct comes into play, thus DAVP advertising comes down, while political revenues go up. I don’t want to use the previous election spends as benchmark, because of the change scenario this year.
What are the key focus areas for Hindustan in 2014?
Over the last 4-5 years, Hindustan has been the No. 2 paper in Uttar Pradesh for most of the time. The focus is to build upon and consolidate the lead that we have in Bihar. Two biggest things from Hindustan’s point of view is to look at other markets and consolidate gains in UP and Bihar. We also intend to invest in some of the western UP markets.
The second strategy is to work on our digital offering. We already have a digital strategy in place and will further fortify our digital presence.
Can we expect more launches from Hindustan this year?
Over the last few years, we have been investing in UP and now we have completed out footprint in UP. Of course, now there is the question of building depth in UP. We will evaluate different markets, if we find something attractive you will see something happening in 2014.