Leading Kannada daily, Vijay Karnataka plans to include three more editions, two in Karnataka - in Tumkur and Chitradurga. It also plans to focus on Mumbai to cater to large Kannada speaking populace in the city.
According to the recent NRS and IRS surveys, Vijay Karnataka is the clear market leader in Karnataka, which till recently, was Prajavani's stronghold. For a newspaper (unlike television), it is a rare phenomenon to topple the leader within a couple of years, and that too by a large margin.
The paper was one of the first regional publications in South to adopt invitation pricing. Did it help the paper in becoming the market leader or was it really good editorial? Says Anand Sankeswar, MD, Vijay Karnataka, "Invitation price was initially necessary to cut through the strong presence of Regional News Paper as they were well established and were over 50 years old in to this. But once the penetration was done we relied on the quality of the product that helped to maintain our leadership".
The paper provides local flavour to its readers, and this might be one of the important reasons for its growing popularity. Says, Sankeswar, "We are a multi edition paper, each unit caters to radius of 200 Kms +. Local news, local flavour and latest news covered every day are the main reason for our success."
Anand claims that the paper reaches all segments of societies. Says he, "Vijay Karnataka has been accepted across the SECs that is equally uniform spread through the sections. " He adds, "Luxury brands have been using Vijay Karnataka for their media needs as we have a prominent position is higher SEC". Some of the major brands advertising in the paper include the likes of Samsung, Sony, Videocon, and Maruti. Says Anand, "We feel that we have strengthened the hand of regional news papers in countering advertisers' bias towards the English Dailies."
Media planners believe that its success to a large extent be attributed to good marketing strategies and reach. According to Pillai, Media Director, RKSwamy/BBD, 'The growth of Vijay Karnataka has been phenomenal in recent times, and their success to a large extent be attributed to aggressive marketing.'
It is definitely giving Prajavani a tough competition, and eaten into its circulation to a very large extent. Says Hari Kannaiya, Media Manager,FCB Ulka " Prajvani is an old newspaper and hence it still enjoys a certain amount of Brand loyalty. Vijay Karnataka however has eaten into a major chunk of its circulation. It is mainly because of their wide network t hat looks into all areas. Like the transport system, which is very efficient, making Vijay Karnataka accessible all across the regional belt. And since it reaches more people, retailers in Karnataka today prefer to advertise on Vijay Karnataka."
Whether the paper's increased circulation and readership is an impact of its good marketing strategies, or strong content, at present it is the number one in Karnataka and reaping the fruits of it. However, the state has been the stronghold of Prajavani for more than three decades now, and will the upstart be able to remain at number one position for long remains to be seen.