The Statesman has discontinued its afternoon edition from September 1. The Statesman Afternoon Edition was launched in mid-2002. The development was confirmed by Ravindra Kumar, Editor and Managing Director, The Statesman Ltd.
Kumar said, “The main reason for our having discontinued the afternoon edition is that after a massive internal restructuring exercise we decided that at this point of time we need to focus all our attention and energies on our flagship product, The Statesman. We have made investments in plant and machinery, and have deployed all our human resources towards building on the strengths of The Statesman.”
He further said, “There was an inadequacy of distribution channels, and this position did not change in the five years the afternoon edition was in existence. The Kolkata market has many cash sale points that are morning specific and cease to function after 9 am or 10 am. As a result, we were unable to meet demand from subscribers in many parts of Kolkata and Howrah.”
When asked whether lack of response from advertisers leading to inadequate revenues was also responsible for this decision, Kumar admitted, “Mainline advertisers were reluctant to come to the afternoon edition and we were unable to convince them that it was a cost-effective and focused medium. Some of the revenues that an afternoon paper could have hoped to garner were taken away, especially by radio. Because of the edition’s popularity with hotels, we had several inquiries from advertisers of ‘personal’ services who were even prepared to sign long-term contracts. But we had to turn them away because The Statesman Ltd as a matter of policy does not accept massage parlour and escort service advertisements in any of its publications.”
Meanwhile, the company has plans of launching a mid-morning or afternoon paper in the future. Said Kumar, “There are important lessons we have learnt from our five-year long involvement with The Statesman Afternoon Edition. I am prepared to say we will definitely consider launching a mid-morning or afternoon product some time in the future. Equally, I must add that conceptually it will be quite different from the afternoon edition as it existed.”