The Times of India Group is all set to step up the action in the Bangalore market. After discontinuing ‘Usha Kiran’ and bringing in TOI Kannada in its place last month, the print behemoth is now looking at launching ‘Bangalore Mirror’ a la ‘Mumbai Mirror’. The new offering is expected to be a morning compact, similar to ‘Mumbai Mirror’ that was launched in May 2005. It is expected to hit the stands in three months’ time.
Ravi Dhariwal, CEO, Times Publishing, confirmed that Bangalore Mirror is very much on the cards. He said, “The paper is in its planning stage, and the proposal is being actively considered.” However, he refused to divulge any other details just yet.
In a related development, Krishna Prasad, Editor, ‘Vijay Times’, has put in his papers on January 30, 2007, and has already resigned from his services with the company. It is learnt that Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd is evaluating the option of closing down ‘Vijay Times’ and replacing with the proposed compact.
To put things in perspective, post its acquisition of Vijayanand Printers Ltd (VPL) in June 2006, BCCL had four publications in the Bangalore and Karnataka market – The Times of India-Bangalore edition, ‘Vijay Times’, ‘Vijay Karnataka’ and ‘Usha Kiran’ – the latter two being Kannada papers. ‘Usha Kiran’ has already been replaced by TOI Kannada, which is a Kannada daily. Even if ‘Vijay Times’ were to be closed down, BCCL would still have ‘The Times of India’, which is a lead player in the Bangalore market, and ‘Bangalore Mirror’ would occupy the slot for a daily compact in this market.
‘Bangalore Mirror’ is being seen as direct competition to the ‘Mid-Day Bangalore’. ‘Mid-Day’ launched in Bangalore on June 27, 2006. The other players in the daily market in Bangalore are ‘Deccan Herald’, ‘The Hindu’, ‘The New Indian Express’ and ‘The Asian Age’.