Sakaal Group of Newspapers is strengthening its product portfolio with an English daily, Sakaal Times, which is slated for launch in April. To be launched from Pune, Dilip Padgaonkar is the Editorial Director for the newspaper, while A N Sen is its Editor-in-Chief. The price of the newspaper has not been decided on yet.
Sakaal Group has entered into a tie-up with Asia Pacific Communication Associates Pvt Ltd (APCA), touted as the only Indian multinational media company. APCA, which is promoted by Padgaonkar and Sen, would supervise the editorial content of the newspaper. APCA brings out two newspapers from Nepal and Mauritius. Sakaal Group had already ‘Global Affairs’, a quarterly magazine, in January through a similar tie-up with APCA.
Confirming this development, Sen told exchange4media that initially Sakaal Times would be distributed only in Pune and Goa, from where the Group was already bringing out Maharashtra Herald and Gomantak Times, respectively. The marketing, advertising and distribution of the paper would be looked after by the Sakaal Group. Though the editorial content would be supervised by APCA, all editorial staff would be under the Sakaal Group.
Sen further said that some key appointments had already been made. “Yogesh Vajpayei, an ex-TOI hand, has been appointed as Associate Editor. He would be looking after the Edit page. T R Ramachandran, the Delhi Bureau Chief of Tribune, is also joining us as Associate Editor, while Navdeep Dahiya from Hindustan Times has been roped in as News Editor. More editorial appointments would follow soon,” he added.
Sen further said, as part of the countrywide editorial network, bureaus were being set up in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow, Patna, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Goa, Srinagar, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Chandigarh. “Initially, we will have no full time correspondents in overseas locations and would make do with stringers only. We will be leveraging on the high profile advisory board of our magazine for news analyses and indepth commentary pieces with advisors like Sunil Bharti Mittal, Lord Meghnad Desai, Kiran Karnik, K Subramaniam, N K Singh, and Vijay Kelkar,” he said.
Sen further said that the paper had not set any ambitious circulation targets. “We are targeting readers in the age group of mid-30s to mid-40s. Irrespective of the social profile, our target would be discerning readers. As it would not be a mass-circulated newspaper, we are aiming at a circulation of 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh over a period of one year,” Sen informed.
Sakaal Group has bigger plans for Sakaal Times. Said Sen, “By the end of the year, we will launch this paper from three more small cities. In 2009 we plan to print it in Delhi and Mumbai, followed by the launch of an online newspaper.”