Lokmat's ability to take stand for people has kept it relevant for 100 years: Vijay Darda, Group Chairman

A new print edition in Delhi and news websites in various regional languages like Bengali, Punjabi and south languages will mark the beginning of Lokmat's 100 years of existence

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Updated: Nov 30, 2017 8:55 AM

Maharashtra’s leading media group Lokmat enters 100 years of its existence on December 15, 2017. To mark this occasion, the group is all set to enter the Delhi market with launch of its Delhi edition. The edition would be in Marathi language for 50, 000 odd Marathi speaking people living in National Capital Region. Lokmat is also set to expand its digital base by launching news websites in various languages including Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and several south languages.

With over four decades of experience and an absolute clear vision to steer the group, Vijay Darda, Chairman, Lokmat Group, speaks to exchange4media about his plans ahead. Excerpts;-

1. Your brand Lokmat is entering in the centenary year on December 15, 2017. How did you ensure the brand kept itself relevant and growing over the years?

To survive 100 years is a big thing for anyone whether it’s an organisation or a person. We are very excited about it. Now coming to your question, I think the key to our success is the fact that we always took a stand for people. We raised their issues and gave them a voice. It is very important to understand the inception of the brand ‘Lokmat’. My father Late Jawahar Lal Darda started the paper as part of the independence movement. The word Lokmat came from the speeches of freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who during one of his visits to Yavatmal had repeatedly used the word. So, with that kind of legacy we are now entering 100 years of being the voice of people. We believe in people’s movement.

2. Entering 100th year is indeed a remarkable success for anyone. What are your big plans for this special year?

On the day we enter our 100th year we are launching Delhi edition of Lokmat for Marathi readers in National Capital Region (NCR). We live by the principle of Jeethe Marathi Teethe Lokmat (Wherever you find Maharashtrians, you will find Lokmat). We have already hired a team and everything has been put in place. Besides, there are many plans to celebrate throughout the year and our celebration will be with our readers. We want to take our celebrations to Taluka (district) level. We want to celebrate with gram panchayats with the same reverence with which we will celebrate with bigwigs.

3. You are one of the biggest veteran in the media domain. How do you look at the emergence of digital media and how bright is the future of print medium in this scenario?

No one can deny the growth of digital medium. We have worked extensively on our digital strategy and now we are planning to grow digitally. We want to go national through different languages. It will be a part of lokmat.com. We have plans of launching news websites in various languages including Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and south languages. However, talking about print, I feel the future of regional print is very bright but I can’t say the same for English.

4. What has been your business strategy over the years?

Our strategy has been very simple. You generate a good product and business will follow you. In Pune recently we called all the developers/builders and told them that if you do not get results we will return your adex money back. With the result, the response was 80 % in our paper whereas our competitors could give only 20%. Moreover, Hansa report has proved that we are number one in Maharashtra. We are waiting for IRS report but we are confident that we are undisputed number one.

5. Any other group initiatives that you would like to discuss?

There are a lot of things the group has been associated with in last many years. Some of the things close to my heart are our special Diwali magazine called DeepUtsav. Its one of its kind coming from Maharathra and leading writers like Gulzar Sahab and Shobha De have edited it and contributed in its growth. We have a platform called Sakhi for women which is extremely popular. One of the leading IT college in Maharashtra is in Yavatmal which was started by my father.

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