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Times begins pre-launch reader contact exercise for Bombay Mirror

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Times begins pre-launch reader contact exercise for Bombay Mirror

The newest baby from The Times of India Group is all set to lure the Mumbai reader and advertiser. The publication is titled Bombay Mirror and will be what Times officials term as ‘broad-loid’. Industry sources inform that the paper will be on the stands early June.

Bombay Mirror (BM) commenced its circulation driving exercise last week, which marks the beginning of dialogue with the readers. The literature being taken to various households begins as ‘Bombay Mirror – a newspaper that you have designed’, which does remind one of DNA’s communication.

Industry observers see BM as the arsenal that Times will use in the forthcoming battle with DNA at the advertisement level and perhaps also on the distribution and penetration front. But, so far as the content is concerned, the editorial team headed by former Mid-Day hand Meenal Bhagel is clear that Mid-Day is its competition. Other names at the helms of affairs at BM are Geeta Kapoor in marketing and Prakash D’ Souza for the brand.

Also, even as Times Response will use BM strongly with the advertiser, for the reader the Times Group connect is not being highlighted. This is evident in the on-ground communication that has begun, wherein the flier being circulated among potential readers does not bear the Times Group’s name. The only link to the Times Group is the signature of Sam Dastoor, Publisher of The Times of India, on the Price Guarantee certificate. Dastoor’s name appears as Publisher – Bombay Mirror.

Looking at the larger picture, BM would be positioned as the third paper from the group. The current Times campaign tells the reader about TOI going all 40 pages in colour and the clear intent of the group is to place TOI as the premium paper. The business image of The Economic Times also has been affected to some extent, as the ongoing campaign around ET speaks of a paper that covers more than just business news and is meant for all classes. And the third place is taken by BM.

The flier speaks of details that are a result of the consumer research that BM conducted. Though there is no information on the number of households covered by the research, a footnote mentions ‘Based on a survey conducted amongst thousands of readers in Mumbai in April 2005.’

According to this survey, Bombay-ites divulge that the most important news areas are National News, Business News, City News and Sports News in that order, and the most important aspects of a newspaper are layout, news analysis, easy language and objective reporting.

On parameters like whether the paper should reflect the city in which it is published, 85 per cent of the sample agreed. On whether the paper should cover features and entertainment as much as news, 33 per cent disagreed. Seventy one per cent agreed to the paper focussing on youth and things that interest them, and 92 per cent felt that the paper should be a complete one catering to all sections of the society.

The flier goes on to claim that Bombay Mirror has been designed based on these findings. Giving some details about the paper itself, the flier says that it will be a “crisp, 48-page compact”. The paper will include city, national and global news, across business, sports, civic issues, politics and entertainment. There would be a great focus on layout and reader interaction enhanced through daily contests, reader surveys, etc. There would be an array of supplements and a weekend lifestyle magazine for Mumbai.

There are special privileges given for people who are booking now. This includes a special price of Re 1 per copy for a month instead of the regular cover price of Rs 2 and a price guarantee till December 2005.

The flier also indicates that the paper intends to be heavy on contests. One such would be ‘Know your City contest’, which has a 2 BHK apartment in Thane as first prize, five Jet Escape–Singapore Holidays as second prize, five Hyundai air- conditioners as third prize and so on. In addition, there is a guaranteed gift of a set of two special Bombay Mirror mugs after one month of subscription.

Though senior executives in the Times Brand team were not available for comment, sources close to the BM project claim that even though ‘Bombay Mirror’ is the name that has been decided for the new paper, a change just before the launch can’t be ruled out.


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