'Usha Kirana', from the publishers of Vijaya Karnataka, the leading Kannada daily, will hit the stands on March 4, 2005, across the state. The new Kannada daily will be priced at Rs1.50, creating a differential positioning through pricing and content from the parent publication, which is priced at Rs 2.
A fresh editorial team will take guard for Usha Kirana, headed by Venkatnarayana, former editor of Kannada Prabha.
Speaking to exchange4media from Hubli, L Ramanand Bhat, Executive Managing Editor, Vijay Times, and Director, Vijayanand Roadways Limited (VRL), said, "There is a clear segment of readers in Karnataka to whom Usha Kirana will appeal. When everyone is saying that there is no space for another Kannada publication, we believe that there is a space we can occupy. The proof of our belief is Usha Kirana."
Sharing more on the reason to float another Kannada paper, Venkatanarayana, Editor, Usha Kirana, said, “There are two reasons behind this. One is that there is scope. Karnataka has a population of five crore and the total circulation of the leading national dailies is 15 lakhs. This figure was just six lakhs before Vijay Karnataka came in the picture.”
He further added, “Even if you go by the 30 per cent literacy ratio, there is a huge gap between the population and circulation figures, which gives us enough scope to launch another Kannada paper and grow the market further.”
The second factor he pointed out is the economics of a newspaper, where the survival is on advertisement and not the selling price. “While Vijay Karnataka is the option that brings in a larger exposure for an advertiser, it is also more expensive. Usha Kirana will prove to be an option for the smaller spender who is looking for a smaller circulation figure,” he said.
A count on which Venkatanarayana is very clear is that the content of both the papers would be different. “The editorial teams of both the papers are completely different but the circulation, ad sales and so on are common. Even the way we will present the same news would be different.”
In the initial stages, the paper will be present in all the nine markets that Vijay Karnataka is present in right now. These include Shimoga, Chitradurga, Hubli, Eulbarga, Bagalkot, Gangawathi, Mysore, Mangalore and Bangalore. Of these, barring the last two centres, where the paper will be of 12 pages, at the other seven centres it will be of 10 pages.
Going forward, all three publications will enter Belgaum and Hassan as well, giving the publications an eleven-centre presence.
Other Kannada dailies in the state include Prajavani, from The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., which also brings out the Deccan Herald; Kannada Prabha, Udayavani, Samyukta Karnataka and Janavahini.
According to ABC figures for January-June 2004, Vijaya Karnataka had a circulation of 5,76,071 copies, followed by Prajavani with 3,43,841 copies.