One year on, DNA out to make sense of the future; commissions E&Y to certify its circulation figures
One year after its launch, the Daily News & Analysis (DNA) has proved its mettle and has some good numbers to show as far as readership and circulation are concerned. The paper did much to celebrate completion of one year, placing all initiatives under the umbrella ‘Future Sense’.
Looking at the scene now, DNA has commissioned Ernst & Young to certify its circulation figures. The first study executed here was for the period April 1-15, 2006, wherein the average net paid sales per publishing day at various levels of discounts across trade and subscription sales were at 239,019 copies for Monday to Saturday. The Sunday edition was at 248,109 copies.
The second set of tests to calculate circulation for DNA was carried out for the period April 16-June 15, 2006, and the result is 255,310 copies for weekdays and 265,654 for Sundays.
Speaking on this, M Venkataraman, COO, DNA, said, “As you can see, during the second period, we have grown by about 16,291 copies on weekdays and 17,545 copies on Sundays in terms of net paid sales.”
Venkataraman is clear that this target has been achieved only by the efforts put in the content and marketing of the product. He further informed that E&Y would carry out further studies for subsequent periods. The target? To reach the 300,000-mark by year-end.
The numbers are looking good for the publication and DNA’s Editor, Gautam Adhikari, spoke more on the content changes that had taken place in the paper over the year. DNA West Coast – a supplement dedicated to the Mumbai suburban areas of Bandra to Borivali – has been added in the second year. Adhikari explained that with the coming of this supplement, which is on the lines of DNA Navi Mumbai, there would be changes that would be reflected in the Zone pages of DNA.
The paper has also planned some changes for the weekend paper. Adhikari said, “These aren’t really huge changes, but some basic elements that we are taking care of to further fine tune the paper.”
An initiative that the paper has taken to celebrate its first anniversary is that of a special supplement compiling the top 50 most influential people in Mumbai. “And we have not followed the done and bored way of just profiling these people. We have asked their peers to write about them and this is indeed a delight for the reader. An effort like this hasn’t been presented before and the end product reflects the mark that DNA has made for itself in the market.”
Adhikari has been very expressive about his view that the Mumbai print space can accommodate more than just one or two players and that DNA’s performance vindicates this. He said, “For standalone papers, we are the clear No. 2 player, Hindustan Times is doing very well for itself – in all, there is place for all of us.”
DNA has seen various changes in its editorial in the past year – some being the change in format of the supplement Ad Zip to become the last page of DNA’s financial supplement, DNA Money. One of the distinct features about DNA at the time of its launch were various supplements that accompanies the main paper like DNA Sport, DNA Money and others like After Hrs, Brick & Mortar, Me and so on – AD Zip being one of them.
Giving the broader picture here, Adhikari said, “Ad Zip is the only supplement whose pattern we changed as it was not working out in its previous form. The way I see it is that DNA has many newspapers with the main paper, and individually, these are doing very well for us.”
DNA launched its e-paper on October 15, 2005 and taking all this into consideration, Adhikari said, “We have done in one year what many take three to five years to achieve and that to us is an indication of being on the right track and of putting in further efforts to consolidate our position here.”
One area that has been really noteworthy is the marketing of the paper by virtue of the sheer magnitude of noise that the paper has made. In fact, at the time of the paper’s launch, several industry experts had said that the expectations from the paper were far too high due to its marketing. The marketing action didn’t die with the launch and was carried out throughout the year to highlight various aspects of the paper – one of them being the editors of the paper.
“Efforts to make icons of our editors will be seen some more going forward,” promised Suresh Balakrishnan, Chief Marketing Officer, DNA. “Since we are still finalising the last threads on this, I can’t speak much now,” he added. Nonetheless, it is understood that the initiatives of taking their editors on the silver screen and producing relevant content at the same time are some of the plans on the drawing board.
DNA has been pushing its sections individually as well and at the same has been associated with various events, that, Balakrishnan explained, was done to create the brand awareness for the readers.
As part of its first anniversary celebrations under the Future Sense tag, the paper is taking close to 100 hoardings again for its anniversary campaign and has organised a major event with the music band ABBA.
Balakrishnan said, “We have been clear on a few things about the paper and the first is that in order to create a brand to reckon with, we have to establish this brand as an entity that would not compromise on credibility. We have even taken beats on revenue because of this, like we don’t take air bus ads like all the other papers – but that is all right, when you are sarting from scratch, there are too many things you would have to be careful about.”
Our typical marketing budget is usually 10 per cent of the topline spend
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