The Times of India has intensified its coverage of local news with the launch of a new weekly supplement in Pune. This media vehicle targets sectors that thrive in hyper local communities and covers advertisers such as mom and pop stores, restaurants, health centers, florists, banquet halls and furniture shops. These businesses have traditionally kept away from extensively consuming space in print media, due to deterrents such as price and circulation.
Currently, the hyper local supplement covers areas of Pune such as – Aundh, Baner and Kondhwa. There are plans to launch five editions in Pune and, it would be launched on a national scale over a period of time.
Commenting on this initiative, Arunabh Das Sharma, President, TOI said, “This project will be a local product with cities being divided into 6-20 zones depending on the size and population. Each edition of the supplement would carry content dependent on the relevance to the area/ zone. Hyper local businesses in the zone are invited to communicate to the relevant audiences in that area through various promotional and interacting activities.”
The differentiators will be user-generated content, innovative advertising solutions and TOI’s scale and lineage. The ad-edit ratio will be 50:50.
“This project will leverage the concept of user-generated content by inviting readers to be citizen journalists for The Times of India. Readers will play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news and information. Anyone with a mobile phone or internet connection can publish content. They will be able to upload content to a social media site which is used by us to create multiple hyper local publications,” added Sharma.
The supplement will be circulated free with the main paper on every Friday. It is being promoted through different mediums such as print, radio and internet.
Meanwhile, a Facebook page has been designed to interact with the readers and enable them to post their stories and comments.