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Sambhaav Group to acquire Express’ Jansatta, plans foray in FM too

05-October-2005
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Sambhaav Group to acquire Express’ Jansatta, plans foray in FM too

Ahmedabad-based Sambhaav Group of Publications is determined on making more noise now. The group is in the process of acquiring Express Group’s Jansatta, a Gujarati morninger, and is also bidding for four FM stations. Sambhaav Group CMD Kiran Vadodaria explained that these actions were part of the group’s overall objective to provide media solutions to clients.

In the present state-of-affairs, Sambhaav Group owns a weekly, ‘Abhiyaan’, afternoon paper, ‘Sambhaav Metro’, has 200 outdoor sites in Ahmedabad and is in the book publishing business as well.

Vadodaria explained that the group needed more additions to become a “media house”. He said, “Today, the concept of a media house is important. With the acquisitions and expansion we have planned, it will become possible for us to give clients media solutions. In the present state-of-affairs, that is the way for any media house to exist – to be able to give something more.”

The plan of action for the group includes work on Jansatta’s re-launch after the acquisition of the paper. Vadodaria divulged that even as the paper would continue to be a morning broadsheet, Sambhaav would re-look the centres that the paper was coming from and change the TG to a more youthful 15-25 age group.

“We will make it a vibrant paper catering to the youth TG, as this is one segment that is still left out in the Gujarat market,” said Vadodaria, adding, “Also, the paper is present in Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara. We will see if it is still viable to be present from all of these centres.”

The paper will be re-launched in the first quarter of 2006 and Vadodaria divulged that the first set of investment in just getting the man power right and the redesigning of the paper was to the tune of Rs 2 crore. “There is a substantial amount that will be invested in the paper, but we want it to be step-by-step to ensure that the paper achieves the targets we have laid out for it.”

The Group is paying more attention on outdoor as well. According to Vadodaria, Sambhaav currently owned 200 sites in Ahmedabad on Aashum Road and CG Road. “In addition to this, we are acquiring 38 more sites, 12 of which are near signing. The objective is to have 500 sites between Ahmedabad and Surat.”

In addition to this, Sambhaav is all set to bid for four Gujarati FM stations in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot and Surat. “We had bid earlier, but since the license fee structure wasn’t feasible, we withdrew. Now in the new phase, it is a good time for us to get back into the game. Radio Mirchi’s presence in these areas has already opened up the radio market and we will be able to develop it some more,” said Vadodaria.

Sambhaav also has plans for its existing products. The company is going aggressive on ‘Abhiyaan’, too. “We are investing almost Rs 2 crore in ‘Abhiyaan’ as well. The paper is already established with the right audience, we want to consolidate this.”

A subscription scheme is being launched, in addition to other changes in the weekly itself like increasing the number of pages and the number of colour pages.

Giving the rationale behind these steps, Vadodaria said, “Prior to ‘Divya Bhaskar’ coming in Gujarat, the market was owned by two players. Now competition has opened up the market. At the same time, you know that mass or general slots are already taken by the big players. It doesn’t make sense to intrude in that area. What we are doing is identifying other areas, which are productive but untapped and developing them.”

Vadodaria believed that with the presence in different mediums and in different slots, as far as print was concerned, Sambhaav would be in a better position to give media solutions to its clients.

“Why should any advertiser bank on us otherwise? The privilege of selling CCS has gone to the top players, we have to be more innovative and focussed in our ways and that is what the aim is,” asserted Vadodaria.

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