The march of regional and English dailies to Tier II and III towns and cities continues this year as well. The focus shifts to the South this time, Tamil Nadu to be specific. It is learnt that The Times of India is planning to launch a Tamil daily and according to highly placed sources, the group is in talks to launch the daily in a couple of months’ time. However, no official confirmation was forthcoming at the time of filing this report.
Times Group’s proposed vernacular foray comes on the heels of its entry into the Bengali daily space with Ei Samay. To counter Ei Samay’s launch, ABP Group launched Ebela, its first Bengali newspaper after Anandabazar Patrika, which was launched in 1922.
This latest development is expected to cause a stir in the Tamil print space, which already has established players such as Dina Thanthi, Dinakaran and Dinamalar. The Times of India already has presence in the Tamil Nadu market with its Chennai edition, which is giving some stiff competition to The Hindu.
Meanwhile, The Hindu is also gearing up to launch its new offering in Tamil in July 2013. The group feels that there is demand for local news as people look to consuming local news in their native languages.
In an earlier conversation with exchange4media, commenting on the competition in the Tamil market, Suresh Srinivasan, Vice President, The Hindu had said, “We are not looking at the numbers game; we believe there is space for a good Tamil daily and there is a void in the Tamil space. It is one of the key markets and perhaps one of the best opportunities for any Tamil paper to come in as compared to the neighbouring states.”
It’s an intelligent move: Experts
“TOI has seen reasonable success and has done well in other regional markets. This is part of their expansion plan,” said Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia India.
He further noted that with the rapid growth of the Tamil market, the competition will be tough between the new entrant and existing players. “This will ride on the back of local community connect and good editorial content. The consumer will decide who is superior; if they will get good content, they will choose the leader,” Sen pointed out.
Surbhy C Murthy, former Associate VP, Allied Media added here, “I am all for language media, because it helps connect with the masses. This is a very smart and intelligent move from the Times Group; they have done this before in other regional markets and are managing it well.”
Talking about the competition in the market, Murthy said, “Space is always there in all markets, new readers are coming up all the time. The Times Group has done it in West Bengal, they can pull it off here as well.”
Regional is becoming the new national as far as advertising is concern, with major brands turning their attention to consolidate their presence in regional as well as Tier II and III towns. This optimism is reflected in the Pitch-Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2013, which states, “Regional press is expected to continue to grow at a faster rate than English, as well as revenues for special and niche magazines.”
The Hindu to launch Tamil edition in July