What started 22 years ago as ‘Unputdownable’ has lived up to its promise. Maintaining its number one position in the Eastern market, The Telegraph, from the ABP stable, has emerged as the strongest print media brand in the region. With 60 per cent market share, the English daily boasts a circulation of 3.25 lakh (ABC, July-December ’03), and a readership of 13.44 lakh.
Following the August 2004 relaunch with its new look and format, The Telegraph is aiming to touch the four-lakh circulation mark soon with a projected city circulation of 2.2 lakh. On the pricing front, ABP has also launched a combi-package for The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika. “We were the first to have such a combination package for offering the readers both the tastes,” a senior ABP official said.
Significantly, The Telegraph has cracked a market once dominated by the redoubtable The Statesman, at one time arguably the best known and oldest newspaper brand in the country along with The Times of India. Along the way, it also successfully met the challenge posed by Asian Age and the onslaught of national heavyweights like The Times of India and Hindustan Times which launched Kolkata editions. “The credit goes to exceptionally superior marketing and extensive branding activities that the group adopted,” said Sandip Tarkas, President, Media Direction.
However, in the English print media market of Kolkata, The Statesman is retaining the second slot claiming a circulation of 1.80 lakh. The Times of India figures 1.27 lakh in terms of circulation and Hindustan Times clocks close with 1.17 lakh.
With four major newspapers vying for a share of the pie, the Kolkata print media market has emerged as one of the most challenging domains for English dailies. “With its exceptional marketing initiatives and innovative content, The Telegraph has managed to quickly permeate through every sphere of Kolkata’s social fabric. It speaks the idiom of the city, cutting across all sections of readership,” observed Amitabh Sinha, VP, Rediffusion DY&R, Kolkata.
The Telegraph consolidated its leadership position by adopting a multi-dimensional brand strategy. To cater to the changing mindset of the reader, the daily has consistently brought in value-addition through changes in the look and feel of the product and introducing new launches. “Telegraph has a wonderful mix of content and interestingly, it has never taken any knee-jerk reaction in its presentation. It is very contemporary but never a light-hearted stuff, yet not too highbrow,” said DK Guha, Associate VP, Lowe, Kolkata, reasoning the daily’s success.
Industry professionals in the city still recall the impact of the ‘Unputdownable’ campaign – a Lintas creation dating way back in 1982. “The initial impetus was so strong that the momentum is still alive,” felt Guha.
On the value-addition aspects, a senior ABP official claimed, “We were the first to introduce such a wide spectrum of sub-brands catering to all possible avenues of general interest of the reader.” With ‘KnowHow’ – the Monday supplement on science and technology, ‘Jobs’ – an appointment pull-out on Tuesdays, Wednesday’s career counselling tabloid ‘Careergraph’, Thursday’s children special ‘TeleKids’, ‘Etc’ – the Friday feed of all about the filmdom and entertainment, Saturday’s ‘Weekend’ and the Sunday magazine ‘Graphiti’, The Telegraph aims to offer the consumer a sectionalised and modular complete family newspaper. All such sub-brands come along with the daily dose of city-section, ‘Metro’.
ABP re-launched the daily in August 2004 bringing in a changed look – reduced web-width, new eight-page colour Metro, a special Classified pull-out on Sundays and a new-look Graphiti. The media major lined up a Rs 1-crore ad budget for promoting the new-look Telegraph.
The ad campaign was divided between two agencies. Suhel Seth’s Equus handled the first phase – ‘With the new international-look Telegraph, you could be anywhere in the world.’ This was followed by the JWT campaign – ‘Live in the new international world of The Telegraph’. Earlier, the publication communicated on its leadership stand with successful campaigns like ‘I’m with the leader’ and ‘Spot the leader’.
The newspaper clinched three coveted international awards last year. The Newspaper Association of America awarded it with SNAP – making it the first non-US newspaper to win the title. IFRA, the world’s leading organisation for the publishing industry, inducted the daily into its International Newspaper Color Quality Club 2004-06. And, The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) awarded World Young Reader Prize 2004 to The Telegraph In School (a tabloid for children).