Tamil daily Dinakaran, which was bought over by the Sun Network in 2005, was re-launched after a week of promos on the group’s television channels, on February 27. While the ‘look and feel’ of the publication has undergone significant transformation, part of the USP seems to be the price that has dropped to Re 1.
Dinakaran has entered the market with a new tagline, ‘Oru Pudhiya Anubavam’ (A new experience). The newness of this experience is felt through the mast head, font faces, layout, a navigation bar on the front page, and clearly titled pages for business, world, sport, cinema, national, state and city news.
Daily Thanthi and Dinamalar, the top two dailies in the language, are sticking to their guns on pricing, unfazed by the contender-brand.
“We are very confident that the Daily Thanthi as a brand is very strong and stable. The brand’s leadership will not be affected by such occurrences in the market. The kind of mass circulation and leadership we have, and the news coverage that we provide, are unmatched. Even the pricing is not really a factor. What we’re seeing is not very different on many counts. We have been continuously working on the back end, on our systems and processes, and we’ll now wait for a week to get the feedback from the trade and the market,” said Skandraaj, Chief Manager-Marketing, Daily Thanthi group.
A section called ‘Shakti’ has been introduced for women readers in the new Dinakaran, while a full page on ‘Elections ’06’ was also on offer on February 27. The nine editions that have been transformed simultaneously are from Chennai, Pondicherry, Vellore, Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Neyveli and Nagercoil. Sources informed that a Bangalore edition would also be launched in the new format shortly.
It may be recalled that The Hindu has stuck to its higher price in Chennai (Rs 3.25 on weekdays), since the launch of the Deccan Chronicle at Re 1 nearly a year ago (March-end, 2005). We spoke to a few media planners and buyers on the pricing strategy, and whether it might affect the media environment.
“I am not too sure if it will make much of a difference. I don’t know if the newspaper market per se is a price sensitive market. It is more of a habit-driven market, unless it’s for a product that has not been experienced before – maybe a financial daily looking to reach out to a segment of readers who haven’t read a business paper before. We are talking about a full-fledged mass daily space where people have been loyal readers for some time, and players are in entrenched leadership positions,” said the head of a media agency here, whose responsibilities include the Tamil Nadu market.
Despite repeated attempts, R M Ramesh, Publisher and Editor of Dinakaran, could not be reached for comment.
The new look and feel was much better, and the quality of newsprint had also improved, noted K Satyanarayana, GM-South, Media Direction. On the price cut, he said, “An invitation price is bound to expand the market. We saw it happening in Delhi, too. It is too early to comment on how things will move. Personally, I think the price advantage will be there. I don’t know whether it will eat into the existing shares of other papers, but it will expand the market to some extent.”
The print run quoted to planners is said to be over 570,000 copies, and the publication is looking to move this up to 700,000 on February 28, 2005.
Incidentally, February 27 was also the date when K P Kumaran’s (the previous owner of Dinakaran) new venture – a production house named Aniksha Productions – presented its first mega serial, ‘Penn’, to Tamil audiences through Sun TV.