Wearing a new look seems to be the flavour of the season, with top Kannada dailies either showing off a recent facelift, or in the process of getting one. While papers claim the change to be part of a larger strategy, heated competition both in terms of circulation and ad-revenue seems to be the obvious reason.
Vijay Karnataka, which holds the number one spot in Karnataka (ABC January to June), underwent a change in its layout and content around mid-last year. Prajavani, which enjoys Karnataka’s number two spot, followed suit in the last week of December. A quick check with Samyukta Karnataka and Udayavani shows that change is indeed, the latest trend.
It’s all about giving the reader what they want, claims A. Gunda Bhat, CEO, Samyukta Karnataka. “We are growing increasingly audience centric. The youth today is very interested in both the presentation and content. So along with a change in our layout, we will be bringing in more coverage of areas like investigative stories, greater objectivity and holistic coverage of political developments besides a focus on culture, music and fashion.” A designer has been called in to whip up some new designs, which are to be incorporated in a month’s time. While the newspaper is to wear a very international look, its content is to grow more rural-centric. Bhat plans to bifurcate the metro section of the paper besides adding a couple of pages to given exclusive coverage of rural districts.
Udayavani, which has a circulation of 1.87 lakh (ABC January to June 2003), has no specific plans of a complete overhaul. However, it has been carrying out minor alterations over a period of time. Besides strengthening its regional news, and bringing out new supplements for its Udupi and Mangalore sections, the daily has introduced special feature sections focusing on science and women. Says Gautam Pai, Executive Director, Udayavani, “We want to maintain a strong presence outside the coastal areas. We are in the process of creating a stronghold in areas that offer us business potential in terms of ad revenues.”
Bhat has plans along the same lines. “We want to create a product offering that will bring us national advertisers, who at present are keeping themselves away,” he says. While Samyukta Karnataka is hoping for a circulation rise of 50,000 due to its new look, Udayavani is looking forward to a rise of at least 30,000 from its coastal area alone.