Mail Today, the English newspaper that is all set to launch in Delhi from this weekend, believes that when the product is right, no sector is crowded. Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, India Today Group, is of the opinion that there are various ingredients in the making of Mail Today that would ensure that the product would make place for itself.
The Daily Mail partnership brings various advantages to Mail Today. According to Purie, Daily Mail first of all brought significant international experience and best practices in newspapers to Mail Today. He said, “Everyone here doesn’t have all the knowledge here. Daily Mail has been publishing for many years, and it is a very successful newspaper. There is a craft in bringing out a newspaper, and Daily Mail has been investing in it. We partnered with them for this reason, and for them, this is an opportunity to come to an emerging market.”
Purie sees strength in the demographic focus of the paper as well. He said, “We are not trying to address everyone, but an audience that has a clear view on various concerns. We are targeting people in the upper echelons of society, who have a certain lifestyle, interests, certain education level, financial level – who really constitute the upper segment of the middle class.”
The intelligent readership also means focus on the digital version of the paper. “The content of print product will attract people to pick up the paper, but the Internet would be an integrated part of this paper,” said Purie. The content of the paper would be more national in nature than catering to a particular city. Purie believes that a structure like this offers easy scalability. He explained, “Since we are looking at one particular kind of demography, news is news for this TG irrespective of the city.” Even though he was reluctant in giving a time frame, Purie elaborated that the next on the charter were all the urban cities beginning with other key metros.
The Daily Mail contribution to Mail Today is evident in the formatting of the paper. Purie divulged that Daily Mail had played a key role in showing how to present news, headlines, pictures and hence, attract readers in many different ways. “Daily Mail has re-invented newspaper,” said Purie.
A challenge that comes with the Daily Mail partnership is on the advertising side. Mail Today would see no advertising on page one. Other pages like page three and page five have only a certain size of advertising. “We have laid down guidelines in editorial and advertising to not destroy the design of the paper. Otherwise we would undermine the very product that we are trying to sell. However, advertising is the main line of revenue and there are certain aspects about the Mail Today that are designed in a way to cater to advertisers.”
The paper has experimented on the advertising front and designed a special rate card that has different rates for different sections of the paper.
Purie also informed that group synergies between Mail Today and the other India Today products like the women’s magazine, men’s magazine, lifestyle products, business publication and personal finance and also the broadcast ventures from the group could be expected, that would allow the paper “deep content”.
Ashish Bagga, CEO, India Today Group, informed that the marketing plans for the paper were already underway. The marketing would be seen both at a mass level and at a targeted level. On the latter, he explained that from the 150,000 active users of various India Today products in Delhi, 100,000 had been identified and involved in programmes where Mail Today was incentivising the readers and also the vendors.
Bagga informed that the group expected to see 60-70 conversions from this target group. At the same time, Mail Today is working towards eliciting paid subscriptions as well. The strategy at both levels is to identify and then carpet-bomb geographies that house the paper target’s demography. In Delhi, some of the identified areas are South Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and Delhi NCR.
The mass marketing would see Mail Today on OOH mediums, radio advertising and television, in addition to the advertising on the group’s own vehicles. Bagga informed that Mail Today had approached Hindustan Times and The Times of India as well for advertising, but Hindustan Times had already reverted with a negative, while TOI is yet to reply despite repeated reminders. “It is obvious that they do see us as competition already,” Bagga said, adding, “Once we go national in our presence, we see TV as our mainstay marketing medium.”