Vijay Times, the English daily from the publishers of the Vijay Karnataka and Usha Kirana, is currently being circulated in a tabloid format in Bangalore as a late-city edition, reaching the markets at 1 pm. The paper is priced at Re.1, and continues with the 16-page colour format of the Vijay Times.
The tabloid format was launched in the Mysore market around a month and a half ago, according to L Ramanand Bhat, Executive Managing Editor, Vijay Times, and Director, Vijayanand Roadways Limited. He explained that the paper was pitted in Mysore against the leading evening daily, The Star of Mysore. Following its satisfactory run in an eveninger-led market, the VRL group has extended its presence to Bangalore from April 1, 2005, and hopes to launch across cities in Karnataka, based on its run in Bangalore.
Speaking to exchange4media, Bhat said, "This is not a new newspaper. It is Vijay Times offered in a different format. So far, the response has been very good." Interestingly, Bhat reveals that the decision to launch in Bangalore was taken just two days before the actual date of launch, and only one dry run was carried out. So the soft launch eventually merged into the actual launch without much publicity, he explained.
The price point of Re.1 and the timing of the edition indicate that the new format will cater to a different niche, one hitherto unexplored by mainline English dailies in Bangalore. In March, the group launched Usha Kirana, a Kannada daily, priced lower than the flagship publication from the group, Vijaya Karnataka.