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Can OneIndia platform overshadow TOI’s advertising clout?

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Can OneIndia platform overshadow TOI’s advertising clout?

The recent formation of the OneIndia platform for advertisers in print media has led to speculations of a fresh print war. The Telegraph, The Hindu, Hindustan Times and its vernacular publications, The Hindu Tamil, Hindustan and Anand Bazar Patrika have come together to form OneIndia, which aims to take on media giant The Times of India.

This association will allow advertisers to access the six publications through a single point of contact and receive a benefit of cost advantage.

OneIndia, available by invitation to select display advertisers only, offers a single-platform reach comparable and incremental to television, along with the many clear benefits of print, such as immediacy, impact, comprehension, credibility, and a clutter-free environment, to name a few.

The question that arises is whether OneIndia can take the front seat, leaving behind all the other publications, especially The Times of India. exchange4media finds out.

DD Purkayastha, CEO and MD, ABP explained, “The objective is not to leave behind all publications and take the front seat. It has been conceived to provide value for money to our advertisers by offering the highest national reach at a comparatively lower price point.”

On the other hand, Arunabh Das Sharma, President, BCCL remarked, “How can a 4-5 market coverage ever be called OneIndia? The Times of India is the only paper that has national footprint and editions everywhere. Advertisers and media planners know this very well.”

He added, “This idea has been tried and withdrawn, let’s see where it goes now. Whatever it is, it certainly does not represent an all India footprint.”

Without touching the point whether OneIndia will overshadow other publications, Shantanu Bhanja, CMO, HT Media said, “The OneIndia grouping, of course, provides an unsurpassed reach as compared to any other publication or publication group and should certainly help drive share for each of the constituent publications. But more importantly, it will draw in advertising revenues from television, since it provides the reach of television with the rapid build-up and clutter-free impact of print. That was what it was conceived for in the first place, and the response to our recent campaign has indeed reconfirmed that.”

Supporting Bhanja’s statement, Suresh Srinivasan, Vice President - Advertising, The Hindu said, “The benefits of an unparalleled reach that the alliance offers, coupled with innovative options and a single window service, provides great value, including convenience and simplicity.”

Meanwhile, some media planners feel that an initiative such as OneIndia has the calibre of leaving behind The Times of India, while others think this is a smart move, but will not be able to overtake TOI.

Independent media planner Sushma Jhaveri said that she is not aware of the rate card, but added, “It’s a great option, however, I don’t think they can overtake TOI. These dailies are market leaders in their respective markets. The combinations do not cover the main metros of Mumbai and Bangalore, which are very important to marketers. However, in a couple of markets they are at par with TOI.”

Vanita Keswani, COO, Madison Communications feels that there is merit in the OneIndia package from a cost efficiency point of view. “But the OneIndia stronghold versus TOI’s stronghold is actually different. OneIndia gives a better spread across the country for someone who wants to prioritise Chennai and Kolkata, in addition to the Mumbai-Delhi-Bangalore trio.”

Agreeing with Keswani to some extent, Madison Communications’ Chief Strategy Officer, Ruby Bana, also feels that this alliance is a smart move. At the same time she said, “However, I do not think it is fair to comment that TOI will lose as a result of it.”

She added, “Every newspaper has its regions of strengths and profile of readers. Depending on this, the lead daily decision is taken by the advertisers.”

Bana also highlighted the supremacy of TOI and said, “TOI smartly bundles its strengths with discounting while adding on weaker city editions/ supplements. This pricing advantage is lesser with other leading publication houses. The outcome of this alliance depends on how the pricing falls into place eventually. I feel it may not be so easy for different business houses to operate bundling quite like TOI.”

Nonetheless, this platform is expected to create a healthy competition in the print industry. It can be a good opportunity for regional print players as well to create a similar platform, where advertisers can spend wisely and frequently.

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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.