The Hyderabad Media House banner, through its flagship brand HMTV, expanded its offerings with the launch of English daily - ‘The Hans India’. The paper was launched on July 16, 2011 with five editions.
Speaking on the paper, K Ramachandra Murthy, MD and CEO, Hyderabad Media House, said, “We are the first English newspaper in Andhra Pradesh to be launched simultaneously from Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Warangal, and Tirupati. The newspaper is Andhra-centric. Our much-lauded programme, ‘Andhra Dasa Disa’, on HMTV channel gave us the confidence to venture into the print domain.”
The name of the paper – ‘The Hans India’ – has been derived from the swan, ‘Hans’ in Hindi. “We chose the swan as the symbol for HMTV and also named our paper after this bird as it has the ability to separate milk from water. In the same way, we aim to separate truth from untruth and fact from fiction,” Murthy added. The paper has asopted the tagline of: ‘Free, Frank, and Fearless’.
The daily has 20 pages of news, views, reviews, and information about the nation, world, technology, business, sports, and entertainment. Outlining the primary focus of the paper, Murthy said, “I would describe The Hans India as ‘liberal democratic’. We give specific instructions to our team that our focus is Education, Health, Human Rights, Minority welfare, and Women empowerment. We strive to make a difference, both in terms of concept and content. Our core ethics and values, which became the hallmark of HMTV, continue to form the base for The Hans India too. Our aim is to publish factual and purposeful news, maintain high ethical standards, and voice the concerns of the people.”
The paper has regular columns by eminent journalists such as Kuldeep Nayar, MV Kamath, Nilotpal Basu, George Verghese, and Pallavi Ghosh. Within the first week of its launch, the paper had 30 reputed journalists writing about the Telangana issue.
The team of journalists works with the objective of furnishing truthful, insightful, and distinctive information to position itself as a ‘socially responsible’ paper in the society. Their focus is ‘people-centric’ journalism. Murthy elaborated, “Our focus is on the youth. In fact, just 15 days after we started the paper, we had a meet for youth leaders where 200 IT professionals and college students debated about the Lokpal Bill. We will run aggressive campaigns actively involving citizens to air their grievances and prompt the authorities for quicker response and redressal. In this regard, we’ve planned on public debates focusing on civic issues, pollution in coastal areas once a fortnight starting next week.”
The AP market already has four English dailies - Deccan Chronicle, The Times of India, The Hindu, and Indian Express. So, why another English daily? Murthy replied, “The Hindu and Indian Express are Chennai-centric and The Times is Mumbai-centric. Deccan Chronicle’s inputs from the State have decreased with its foray into new markets. Our primary focus will be to provide news from Andhra apart from National and global news. Moreover, bureaucrats and job seekers coming from outside Andhra as well as the younger generation can not read Telugu. So, we decided on an English paper.” With a little over 45 days in operation, the paper prints 48,000 copies every day in Hyderabad and 46,000 copies in the other four districts. Joy M D’Souza, GM (Sales and Operations), HMH, said, “Our aim is to cross the 1-lakh mark by the year-end in Hyderabad itself.”
The paper has also embarked on an aggressive marketing campaign across media. Their creatives have been designed by iGenerous, a small agency. He adde, “In the first phase, we have taken up 14 hoardings and 100 pole kiosks in Hyderabad. We have chosen them at strategic locations where people entering the city can see them on the way to the airport, the railway station, along highways, etc. After a month, we will take up 20 more hoardings in the second phase. We are planning to extend the campaign to the other districts by mid-September. We have four jingles playing every hour from 6 am to 11pm over Radio City in Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam. We are in talks with other radio stations to expand our base.”
The group has advertised through local, regional papers as well as their own channel. “We have also resorted to online marketing with sites such as Jeevansathi and Naukri since there is great demand for jobs and matrimonials. By the second week of September, we will also come out with BTL activities such as consumer fairs and youth forums”, D’Souza states. The paper has a website, a Facebook page, and can be read as an epaper.
The paper currently has two supplements – Hyderabad Hans and Sunday Hans. Hyderabad Hans is a city-centric 4-page pullout, printed everyday. Sunday Hans is an 8-page pullout with features about food fests, travel, and counseling as some topics. About launching further supplements, D’Souza confirms, “We have one page each in the main paper dedicated to education, health, and property. We plan to come out with separate pullouts such as Hans Education, Hans Health, and Hans Property.” There are, presently, 12 classifieds depots for the paper.
K Vaman Rao, Founder and Chairman of the Kapil Group, is the Chairman of the Hyderabad Media House group. Rao is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a successful businessman with business interests in more than 15 companies in diverse fields. K Ramachandra Murthy is the Editor-in-Chief of the paper. Murthy is a veteran journalist with more than 40 years in the media, beginning his career with the Indian Express. He has been in the post of Editor for Telugu newspapers Andhra Jyothi, Vartha, and Udayam in the past. He teamed up with Rao to found the Hyderabad Media House, and is also the Chief Editor of HMTV. PNV Nair is the Editor of The Hans India. He was earlier the Editor at Deccan Chronicle in Hyderabad. Most of his professional life was spent in Mumbai with prestigious publications such as the Indian Express, The Daily, and Mid-Day.
Speaking on the road ahead, Murthy said, “Our next step is to launch the paper in Delhi. We have also applied to the I&B Ministry to launch an English news channel in Delhi and a Kannada news channel in Bangalore. We hope to launch them within a year’s time. We chose Delhi for the English channel because there is no channel there at present that has an extensive focus on the South.”