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Mumbai print battle goes into full flow as DNA is launched amid mixed reactions

01-August-2005
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Mumbai print battle goes into full flow as DNA is launched amid mixed reactions

The most hyped launch in the Mumbai print market, the Daily News & Analysis (DNA), finally happened on Saturday, and industry experts have given their first impressions. Entering the market with an inaugural Rs 2 cover price, the 54-page daily stands out for its high number of supplements. Many industry experts point that the noise created so far may have proved to be a drawback as expectations from DNA were very high.

Looking at the product itself, the main paper in the inaugural issue had 18 pages, which included City, National and International news. The main paper also invited public opinion dedicated to discussions on topical issues.

The supplements include ‘Sports’, the ‘DNA Money’ section in pink, realty section ‘Brick n Mortar’, ‘Life 360’ and DNA’s version of Bombay Times, ‘After Hrs’. One of the most appreciated supplements is DNA Money which, according to industry leaders like Lodestar Media President Shashi Sinha can be a cause of concern for financial dailies.

Madison Media’s Group CEO, Punitha Arumugam, commented that the paper has delivered according to expectations. “My first impression is that it is a good product, which is value for money at Rs 2. What struck me is the simplicity of the layout, concise articles which make for simple and easy reading.”

Arumugam felt that the segregation of news into different supplements is a plus point for the paper. Sandip Tarkas, CEO, Media Direction, thinks similarly. “Different supplements bring in different advertisers, as they offer relevant audience but there are just too many of them here,” he commented.

This is a factor that Sinha too identifies as a problem. “It definitely offers convenience in reading. So, from a reader point of view it is good but not from an advertiser point of view. With so many newspapers coming in, the game is going to be all about time spent. When so many sections are pulled out of the main paper, the time spent on the main paper reduces and gets divided with all the supplements. The advertiser has to be careful about what suits him best and whether he is paying in accordance to the expected readership of that supplement or main paper.”

Speaking more on the first impression of the paper, Sinha said, “I don’t know whether what we see is good or bad but given the hype that was created in the last three months, this is below expectations.”

Tarkas agrees: “It’s a bit of a let down, as it looks like The Times of India. Hindustan Times was different on that count. At least it was not so similar.”

Some of the advertisers that the paper already has include HSBC (winner of the front page solus ad), Fortune Oil, BPCL, Fiat, Society Tea, BSNL, MTNL Tata Indigo, and real estate players like Mittal Builders, Nahar Group, Lokhandwala Builders and Orbit heights. That’s definitely more new names than what Mumbai Mirror and HT had to offer.

With the launch of DNA over, now is the time for the real battle to begin. The Mumbai English reader has a lot more than ever. He has a choice to make over the next few weeks. How the print media landscape changes from here would be very interesting watch. Can the challengers come anywhere near the biggest of them all, The Times of India? What happens to the erstwhile No. 2 paper of Mumbai, the Indian Express, which never found a mention in the media battle cries of the past three months?

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