IMPACT Annv Spl: Gathering momentum in regional markets

Ranjeet Kate, Director, Times Language Business, writes about the seven ways for national dailies to gather momentum in regional markets.

e4m by Ranjeet Kate
Published: Dec 29, 2011 3:16 PM  | 4 min read
IMPACT Annv Spl: Gathering momentum in regional markets

Ranjeet Kate, Director, Times Language Business, writes about the seven ways for national dailies to gather momentum in regional markets.

Look Global, Think Glocal, Act Local: The tried and tested maxim for any MNC launching a global offering has been Think Global, Act Local. For a thought product, however, one needs to think local as well. The front page lead must be the local crime, but the Moradabad businessman surely wants to know how the S&P downgrade impacts his brass exports earnings in dollars. When it comes to form, the front page is the packaging. Forget tinkering with appearance, being a stunning looker is the key differentiation for the newspaper brand! Design is a key component of newspaper product value and many language newspapers have gone in for re-design to stay in tune with younger readers. Also, the smart design of the brand could reflect what really touches and affects local people.

Gentleman Ban Gaya Raju: When ‘Acting Local’, embrace all the laughter, lore and logjams of the place. Newspapers have to connect at all levels with their readers - emotional, transactional and aspirational. Retain core brand values but do not shirk from rolling up your sleeves to get the streets cleaned, leading the dance in all festivals and celebrations. Of course, speaking up helps. Another aspect is hyper-localisation of each edition. The city- upcountry edition splits are a thing of the past. The city can itself do with 2-3 splits driven by hyper-local advertising while the outside of the city copies necessarily must cater to different district news through changed news pages in different splits.

Local Response: A big chunk of the investment in machines, men and paper should be recovered locally. Newspapers being a local medium, this is, of course, logical. However, it’s not just the money we are talking about, it’s also the connect - the response that local advertising gets from the paper - that makes the edition truly a darling of the masses. It’s the true barometer of success in the market. Put enough strategy and resource behind this even if the moneys may first appear small. It is only after this hurdle is crossed that one can say ‘finally arrived’.

Leveraging Aspiration: Thanks to the ‘other’ big media, difference in aspiration levels between cities and towns are rapidly shrinking and in many aspects, just not there! In 2009, non-metros accounted for 73 per cent of urban consumption expenditure. Digital camera ownership is equally split between metros and non-metros. Skoda dealerships in non-metros are thrice the number of the top eight metros.

Aspiration must be served King Size and the ‘Bollywood, Lifestyle and Gadgets’ package in the newspaper must be as loaded for the hinterland as for the metros. The advertising to support this special content is also there – 37 per cent of mobile phone brands that advertise in print have distribution in 1-2 states only – therefore, regional print is the preferred option.

Ascend, Ascend: Migration is driven by better education and job opportunities. And we see two kinds of migration happening - the primary set is from the ‘Bharat’ to the regional hubs – Dehradun, Meerut, Ludhiana, Mangalore, Ranchi or Aurangabad; and then the other set is to the metros – either directly or going via the regional hubs.

Education is one of the largest categories of advertising (TAM AdEx) especially for regional newspapers. The recent launch of job-oriented titles also underscores this trend. The newspaper must be the showcase of all opportunities that exist for the reader to succeed – be it national, regional or local.

Re-align Organisation: The national strategy of a brand needs clever and careful transliteration in the local markets. This task requires people who may be living in regional towns but can connect with national concepts. Training of the local ad sales team is therefore very critical. The team needs to educate regional/ local clients about brand building concepts.

Critical Mass: The success of regional print lies in the inexpensive mass reach provided across a state or socio-cultural region. Any print player must acquire enough size in a region or state, else national advertisers will happily give you a miss. Planners have a strong association of geographies and newspaper brands, and yes, also a limited memory to register the ever-growing number of titles! If one wants them to open their wallets, better have a clear, appealing and relevant story to tell.

(Ranjeet Kate, Director, Times Language Business.)

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Tribes comes on board as presenting partner for IMPACT 50 Most Influential Women 2023

The awards recognise and acknowledge contributions, inspiring leadership and the remarkable body of work done by trail-blazing women in the advertising, media and marketing domain

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 8, 2023 9:10 AM   |   3 min read


The 2023 edition of the iconic IMPACT 50 Most Influential Women 2023 Awards has been announced. These awards recognise and acknowledge the immense contribution, inspiring leadership and remarkable body of work done by trail-blazing women achievers from the Advertising, Media and Marketing worlds.

For the 2023 edition, Tribes has come on board as the presenting partner for IMPACT 50 Most Influential Women. In 2022, the event was Powered by Scibids, developers of AI for marketing. The Gold Partner was India Today Television.

Tribes is a $83-million group of fully integrated marketing agencies. It has been investing in technology that enables customer experience across OOH, Events, Activation and Retail. Whether it is immersive retail experience through AR and VR, or helping brands capture consumer leads and insights, they have developed solutions and platforms that integrate with innovative experiential solutions.

Last year, Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBCTV18, Network18 Group, topped IMPACT’s 50 Most Influential Women in Media, Marketing and Advertising List, 2022. Bhan was awarded the top position for redefining the business news broadcast landscape.

The 2022 edition jury was led by Sam Balsara, Chairman and Founder, Madison World. Other eminent names on the jury this year were Avinash Pandey, CEO, ABP Network; Vaishali Banerjee, MD, Platinum Guild International – India; Pradeep Dwivedi, ED & CEO, Eros International Media Ltd; Priya Nair, Global CMO, Beauty & Wellbeing, HUL; Angelo George, CEO, Bisleri; Kavita Nair, Independent Director & Board Member, Bluedart Express; Shefali Chhachhi, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Hearth Ventures; Sunil Lulla, Founder & Chief Evangelist, The Linus Adventures LLP; Rajeev Beotra, Executive Director, HT Media Ltd.; Neeraj Bahl, MD & CEO, BSH Home Appliances; Nitin Gupta, CEO, Xapads Media; Gulshan Verma, CEO, Jio Ads; Gurmit Singh, General Manager, APAC, Quora.

The previous edition also witnessed a healthy representation of women leaders from across domains. The eminent jury handpicked 21 new faces and voices who are shaking up the industry right now.

The number of women on the list from media companies is 13, which is one less than the 2020 tally. A total of 24 names are from the agency side like creative, media, digital, design domains. The remaining 18 are from the marketing background, with 6 of them being from digital-first businesses. Along with the 50 women achievers on the list, the jury singled out five professionals for ‘Special Mention’.

Commenting on this association, Gour Gupta, Chairman and MD, Tribes Communication said, “We are thrilled to be the presenting partners of IMPACT 50 Most Influential Women 2023 Awards. We have always associated with the best in the industry and these Awards are a perfect fit for our brand which stands for excellence and innovation.”

Previous toppers of IMPACT’s 50 Most Influential Women List include: Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group (2020); Tanya Dubash, Executive Director and Chief Brand Officer, Godrej Industries (2019), Nadia Chauhan, Joint Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Parle Agro (2018), Malini Agarwal, Founder & Creative Director, MissMalini Entertainment (2017), Ekta Kapoor, Joint Managing Director and Creative Director, Balaji Telefilms (2016), Kirthiga Reddy, then Managing Director of Facebook India (2015), Rama Bijapurkar, market strategy consultant and acclaimed business author (2014), Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director HT Media Group (2013) and Vinita Bali, then Managing Director of Britannia (2012).

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Leading from the front: Shobhana Bhartia

In today’s edition of the series, we look at the journey of Shobhana Bhartia who scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to take on the role of the Chief Executive of a newspaper

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 7, 2023 6:01 PM   |   4 min read

Shobhana Bhartia

In 1986, 29-year-old Shobhana Bhartia took over directly as Chief Executive of the national daily Hindustan Times and she scripted history by becoming not only the first woman in India to take on that role for a newspaper but also possibly the youngest one to do so.

In our weekly feature “Leading from the Front”, where we profile people who led India’s transformation, we shine the spotlight on Bhartia, who is currently the Chairperson and Editorial Director of HT Media.

During her tenure, she led the transformation of the publication from the front. She is known as the driving force behind HT Media, handling the editorial as well as the financial aspects of the media business with equal finesse. 

Born on January 4, 1957, Bhartia is the youngest daughter of industrialist KK Birla of the illustrious Birla family. A graduate of the Calcutta University, Bhartia took over the reins of Hindustan Times, where the Birla family had a 75% stake. It was a time when few women were seen at the helm of large businesses.

Bhartia, who had a penchant for journalism, was determined to transform not only the company’s future but also existing notions of women in leadership roles. She has championed many ground-breaking initiatives for the media group.

In 1999, she became the Vice Chairman and Editorial Director of Hindustan Times, moving out of its home market in Delhi to the rest of India. Under Bhartia, the company expanded beyond its flagship newspaper to include multiple editions across the nation.

Today, the company owns English and Hindi dailies Hindustan Times and HT Mumbai, along with the business paper Mint. It has also partnered with Virgin Radio to foray into the FM radio space with four stations and gone digital with an array of web properties like Shine and Desimartini.

In 2002, Hindustan Times became HT Media to consolidate all of its media businesses. In the same year, Bhartia became a pioneer among media magnates to strike a deal with foreign investors. She sold a 16% stake in HT Media to Henderson Global Investors, a private equity company.

She also inked the deal between Wall Street Journal and Mint, which led to a fruitful partnership between the two media powerhouses.

In 2004, HT Media became a listed company, attracting external funding. Bhartia is credited with raising Rs 400 crore through the company’s equity launch in 2005. Today, HT Media is known as India’s largest listed media company.

The media baroness also broke ground in 2006 by partnering with the publication company’s biggest rival Bennett Coleman & Co. to launch Metro Now, a Delhi-centred tabloid. Bhartia also launched the business weekly MintAsia in Singapore in 2013.

Accolades poured for Bhartia who received the prestigious Global Leader of Tomorrow award from the World Economic Forum in 1996. She also won “Outstanding Business Woman of the Year” in 2001 by PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and National Press India Award in 1992.

Other awards include The Business Woman Award, and The Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence in 2007. Forbes Asia has also named her among the 50 Women in the Mix.

In 2013, the ASSOCHAM Ladies League also conferred upon her the Delhi Women of the Decade Achievers Award.

Frequently counted among the world’s most powerful women in business, Bhartia also proved her mettle by venturing into politics. She was bestowed the Padma Shri award in 2005 by the former Indian President the Late APJ Abdul Kalam. In the following year, Bhartia was nominated to the Rajya Sabha on recommendation from the Sonia Gandhi-led United Progressive Alliance.

Despite facing some objections on the grounds of her being a “media baron” and not a journalist, Bhartia’s nomination was supported by the Supreme Court of India. She is credited with introducing "The Child Marriage (Abolition) and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, 2006."

In her long association with Hindustan Times, Bhartia has successfully turned the newspaper into a modern new-age product, in design and in attitude. One of the biggest challenges that she undertook head on was reorienting the company to a profitable, consumer-focussed business. She left her mark not only on the large business decisions that changed the course of the company, but also on its editorial strategy.

India's robust media landscape today is the culmination of the grit and determination showcased by business leaders like Shobhana Bhartia. The Indian news industry today stands tall on the formidable shoulders of these giants.

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Brands are investing in print & magazines in large numbers: Suresh Balakrishna, The Hindu

Balakrishna, Chief Revenue Officer, The Hindu, spoke to us about print circulation making a comeback, the group expanding in the digital market and more

By Tanya Dwivedi | Jun 7, 2023 9:09 AM   |   3 min read

The Hindu

Frontline, the iconic fortnightly news magazine by The Hindu Group, recently unveiled its new avatar with bolder fonts, and a fresh design palette.
On the sidelines of the launch, e4m spoke to Suresh Balakrishna, Chief Revenue Officer, The Hindu, to gather insights on the print industry’s overall readership and the advertisers’ sentiment for the medium.


Has the print industry witnessed an increase in readership in recent years?

The industry has already witnessed an increase in readership in recent years, and the best thing about print and digital is that both mediums are doing well in the market.

How is The Hindu faring in terms of ad revenues?

We cannot share revenues for Q4 now but we can talk about the data for the last few years. We finished at 98% in 2019. I believe that makes us the best-performing English newspaper group in the country. We have had a fabulous journey so far. The newspaper has also witnessed a significant growth in the last couple of years. The months of April and May have been a great start to the year.

How do you differentiate print from other forms of media?

The print media is making a comeback after the pandemic. The weight has been significantly bounced back, and this is a big development for the print media industry. This shows that people still want to continue newspaper reading and continue to subscribe to newspapers. Moreover, we have also achieved the pre-pandemic newspaper circulation target.

How has Hindu been expanding its digital market in recent years?

We already have an established market across the country. Our website and app are behind the paywall. The good thing is that people in large numbers are going for subscribtions to read the newspaper. The Hindu has done a great job in maintaining the credibility of its content and gaining readers’ trust in the market. Moreover, we are planning to expand in the print and magazine business in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on the new avatar of Frontline Magazine?

The magazine is a prestigious product of The Hindu Group. The refreshed look will offer a lot more to our readers, both visually and in terms of content. The intent is to seamlessly merge tradition and innovation to offer a power-packed reading experience and it’s safe to say we have achieved it.

Are we going to see more brands investing in print and magazines in the coming years?

Yes, brands are investing in print and magazines in large numbers. Digital brands are our biggest categories. Moreover, ed-tech and fintech companies are investing in the print media. Technology has provided a great evolution for the print and magazine business in India.

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BW Businessworld launches latest issue on EV sector movement

Bonus Edition to highlight India's Super CFOs and Modi regime

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 6, 2023 5:18 PM   |   3 min read

bw business

The recent issue of BW Businessworld,which will be released on June 17, 2023, addresses the adoption of EVs in the country and the effects of subsidy cuts as well as the sluggish growth in EV infrastructure threatening to further impede the progress. 

The issue sheds light on the EV industry's positive side, with over a million EVs sold in the country in the previous fiscal year, as well as the challenges and roadblocks the industry faced in terms of growth on electric two-wheeler adoption following subsidy cuts and its infrastructure. To demonstrate the significance of the situation, the BW Businessworld team reached out to auto industry professionals for their perspectives on the current state of the EV business and the ratio for which speedy investment in charging infrastructure is required.

The Big Bet On SUVs & EVs

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, R.C. Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti, underlines the company's supremacy in the SUV and EV segments of the markets. Bhargava goes on to discuss how they are aiming for a 25% market share this year with SUVs and have a clear intention to create a significant splash in the EV category between 2024-25. He also disclosed that Maruti is expecting to launch six EVs in a span of six years, debuting a new model every year starting from 2024. Adding to it, he also contends that the expansion of Indian car industry is likely to grow as to become the third largest in the world in a span of three years and Maruti will be playing a key part to make this happen.

The latest edition also has a comprehensive interaction with Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director & CEO, Auto and Farm Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra. He highlighted Mahindra & Mahindra's projected expansion in the EV area as well as SUV electric portfolios over the next two years. It involves the corporation bringing in British International Investment worth up to Rs 1,925 crores to invest in Mahindra Electric Automobile (MEAL) at a valuation of up to Rs 70,070 crore.

The interaction also demonstrated Mahindra’s EV journey to be at its peak as it remains bullish on India’s EV future with its optimistic vision for 2027.

The Bonus Issue

The winners of the 6th edition of BW CFO World's best CFO & Finance Strategy Awards are featured in this special issue. The best Chief Financial Officers exhibited their expertise by successfully navigating their companies through macroeconomic challenges to achieve long-term growth and value generation.

Moreover, the bonus issue exhibits the vision and agility of the CFOs to prepare their firms to tackle unforeseen economic challenges.

The bonus issue also emphasises on the completion of nine years of Modi government at office. It features the high moments of Modi government’s nine-year long journey in India, as well as insights from industry veterans and their perspectives on the shifting business and economic landscape.

The issue also captures the essence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s milestones under his leadership in a graphic illustration where his mantra of ‘Reform, Perform, Transform’ has been perfectly portrayed, attracting foreign investors to India and creating new opportunities for home grown entrepreneurs.

Nonetheless, the bonus issue also covers the Indian home décor segment to grow at a CAGR of 6.75 per cent from this year to 2027, redefining the taste of the consumers.

In addition, the bonus issue captures the launch of the fifth generation C-class of Mercedes Benz in India last year.

Read the the e-magazine of BW Businessworld on ‘The Movement of EV Sector and Sluggish growth of EV Infrastructure along with its Bonus Issue Featuring India’s Super CFOs, 9 Years of Modi Regime & More.

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Nirmala Lakshman replaces Malini Parthasarathy as Chairperson of The Hindu Group

Lakshman has been associated with the group for over four decades

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 6, 2023 4:53 PM   |   1 min read


The Hindu Group has appointed Nirmala Lakshman as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of The Hindu Group Publishing Private Limited (THGPPL) for a term of three years.

She succeeds Malini Parthasarathy, who stepped down as Chairperson at the Board’s meeting on Monday, June 5, 2023 upon nearing the completion of her three-year term.

Lakshman holds a Ph.D. in post-modern literature and brings with her more than four decades of experience as an editor, writer, and strategist for The Hindu’s various publications.

In her years as Joint Editor of The Hindu, she led the re-launch of several feature sections and the creation of new ones, such as ‘The Hindu Literary Review’, ‘Young World’, and ‘The Hindu in School’. She is the founder and curator of Lit for Life, The Hindu’s literary festival.  Lakshman has also served as the Chairperson of Kasturi Media Limited (KML), publishers of The Hindu Tamil Thisai.

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The Hindu unveils Frontline’s new avatar

The new look has compelling images, bolder fonts, and a clean and airy design palette, the group said

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 6, 2023 11:08 AM   |   4 min read


The Hindu has unveiled the new style of Frontline magazine. The redesigned Frontline continues the legacy of high-quality journalism, now set within a design and format that is relevant for a new readership. Compelling images, bolder fonts, and a clean and airy design palette make for a more engaging reading experience, said the group.

The unveiling was attended by eminent personalities, including leading economists such as Prabhat Patnaik, Jayati Ghosh, and CP Chandrashekar; cultural activist Ganesh Devy; artist Jatin Das; the founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Zakia Soman; senior ambassadors and diplomats; academics, journalists, authors, publishers, and activists. Political personalities such as Pawan Khera (Congress), Manoj Jha (RJD), and D. Raja (CPI) also attended.

There was a panel discussion on the subject “Kashmir: Changing the Discourse” with Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, and President of the Peoples Democratic Party, A. S. Dulat, former chief of the Research and Analysis wing (R&AW), Pavan K Varma, author, ex-diplomat, and former Rajya Sabha MP and N. Ram, former editor-in-chief, Frontline, The Hindu & Director, The Hindu Group. Vaishna Roy, Editor, Frontline, moderated the session.

The Frontline app was launched by Malini Parthasarathy and N. Ram. The app is available for Android users and will soon be available for iOS users.

Malini Parthasarathy (then Chairperson of The Hindu Group) said, “Frontline’s journalistic emphasis has always been on longer-form journalism, examination and exploration of the larger context and background to events as they unfold on the ground. Frontline takes pride in its unflinching honesty and has a well-defined perspective that does not hesitate to highlight what it sees as the “rights” and the “wrongs” in developing situations.”

“Building on this formidable reputation and legacy, Frontline has now a strong print subscriber base of 30,000 copies and the largest active digital subscriber base of any Indian magazine. The website attracts approximately 4 lakh active users monthly. Frontline’s highly engaged subscribers spend an average of 20 minutes per visit compared to the 2-4 minutes spent on average for most news publications. This is an indicator of the high regard for our long-form content.”

“It is obvious that especially for magazines such as Frontline, the print market remains alive and well. The digital shift is already taking place in The Hindu and Sportstar. With the redesigned print version, Frontline will also accelerate its digital push, to provide what the team promises a “Smarter Reading Experience.”

N. Ram, former editor-in-chief of Frontline and The Hindu, and Director, The Hindu Group, said, “The launch has been excellent. We discussed an important subject like Kashmir. Different views were presented and it was a very crucial part of the launch. The event witnessed the presence of notable figures from various walks of life including intellectuals, diplomats, and avid readers. Their presence attests to Frontline's esteemed reputation.”

Vaishna Roy, the Frontline editor, said, “I took over as editor in May last year. We have since been working to redesign and reposition the magazine for the new age. Our content is more engaging, has many more perspectives, and will appeal to readers from all walks of life.” Graphic designer Mario Garcia helped revamp the magazine, Roy said, adding that he had made it look elegant and vibrant.

Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, and President of the Peoples Democratic party, said, “I extend my best wishes to Frontline and I hope that they keep on setting the bar high and always remain in the front.”

Pavan K Varma, author, ex-diplomat, and former Rajya Sabha MP, said, “I congratulate Frontline for relaunching in a new avatar. Previously, the magazine was considered just as the reference material, but now it will be far more readable and contemporary.”

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Govt has unlocked opportunities like never before for Indian entrepreneurs: Vineet Jain

The Times Group MD has said the India growth story is ‘here, now and real’

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 3, 2023 9:04 AM   |   1 min read

Vineet Jain

Times Group MD Vineet Jain has said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has "unlocked opportunities like never before for Indian entrepreneurs", said media reports.

Speaking at a recent media conclave, Jain said that the India growth story is "here, now and real".

He also spoke of how the country was emerging as the "fastest growing large economy" amid global headwinds.

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