Is HT’s Mini experiment working?
HT Mini targets a hitherto untapped slot of people on the move. Though the reception has been mostly positive, will this format work out?
Tapping into a hitherto vacant slot, HT Media Ltd launched the HT Mini on January 14, 2012. With a size smaller that A4 size, the HT Mini is targeted at people on the move, mostly the over 1.8 million strong Delhi Metro commuters.
Speaking to exchange4media, Varun Kohli, Associate Publisher, Mail Today, said “It is a very good initiative as the market is vacant and they are segregating the readers. Readers of English publications will buy this paper and so will the students.” He further said that it might upgrade the main Hindustan Times paper as well.
The HT Mini is currently available for free and is being sampled outside Metro stations. Speaking at the time of the launch, Shantanu Bhanja, Vice President – Marketing, HT Media Ltd, had said, “With the introduction of the Delhi Metro in the last decade, the number of travelers has grown exponentially. According to our research, over 60 per cent of Metro travelers would like to spend their commute reading something, but nothing is readily available to fit their requirements.”
Speaking on the promotion strategy, Bhanja elaborated, “Since our product is primarily aimed at people on the move, the promotion strategy is focused on places of transit – such as the Delhi Metro. We have utilised the outdoor panels of Metro coaches as well as banners and posters in high traffic areas. Staff wearing the HT Mini uniform are present at all major distribution locations to hand out copies of the publication. We are also leveraging our radio presence to get the word out as radio is a frequent companion on commutes. Finally, we have also rolled out an extensive ad campaign in Hindustan Times and Hindustan.”
HT Media is targeting both national and local advertisers for the Mini. “Any advertiser who wants access to a Delhi consumer engaged with a product for approximately 20-30 minutes daily is the right fit for HT Mini. There are a few advertisers who are specifically targeting Mini as their demand is different,” Bhanja divulged.
On the ad rates, he said that they varied between the main edition and HT Mini since they were vastly different products with different target groups and consumer experiences. “Additionally, HT Mini has been launched only recently and is finding its audience, while Hindustan Times, the main paper, is the established leader of Delhi-NCR,” he added.
Surbhi C Murthy, Associated VP, Allied Media, felt that there was need for more competition in this format, which would lead to a better product for readers. She too felt that a format like HT Mini would work as readers on the move wanted something to pass their time, while the younger crowd would be attracted by the light content.
She further said, “Applications on phones is also a very good option to reach the maximum readership base.”
Meanwhile, HT Media is testing the waters with the Mini format in Delhi and has no immediate plans to launch it in other cities.
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