The Sun Network, the South Indian media behemoth, seems to have firmed up its plans to enter the Tamil daily newspaper segment. According to industry sources, the network may have bought over 100 per cent equity in the Dinakaran group of publications, and said that the Dinakaran daily is also to be re-launched shortly following the takeover. However, sources close to the Dinakaran management dismissed the contention as a rumour.
If the development proves true, Dinakaran will mark the group’s entry into the daily segment. The media giant SUN already has Kungumam in its fold in the weekly segment, which was ranked the highest read Tamil weekly and fourth largest read weekly (All India) according to NRS 2005, with a readership of over 55 lakhs. In earlier media interactions, Kalanidhi Maran of the Sun Network has indicated that the group’s entry into the daily segment would be sometime around June 2005.
Talk of the takeover has been in the market for sometime now. The Dinakaran group is presently managed by K Kumaran, son of promoter and former Minister (late) KP Kandaswamy. Sources close to Kumaran said, “Why would a publication like Dinakaran which is doing very well sell out?” (On June 16, 2005, 4 p.m.)
Besides its flagship Dinakaran daily, the group publishes eveningers Malai Murasu (3 of its editions) and Tamizh Murasu (five editions), Yogalatchumi (lottery-based), and weekly magazines Vaniga Ulagam (business) and Velai Vazhikatti (employment).
Dinakaran daily has nine editions in Tamil Nadu, and claims a circulation of around 3,25,000 copies in Tamil Nadu, with 85,000 copies sold in Chennai (1,25,000 in Chennai on Sundays). Dinakaran is known for its extensive coverage of cinema. It is sold at Rs.3 on weekdays and Rs.5 on Sundays.
Daily Thanthi is the leader on circulation with 7,96,900 copies, and Dina Malar is the second largest with 5,82,688 copies (Jul-Dec, 2004, ABC). Dina Mani, from publishers of The New Indian Express, with 1,35,366 copies, is the other player in the market. With a possible takeover by the media giant, industry leaders predict that Dinakaran will give the other established players a run for their money.