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Hyper-local editions of newspapers: Are they cost effective?

28-December-2010
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Hyper-local editions of newspapers: Are they cost effective?

The year 2010 has seen prominent newspaper brands in the country not only innovating their products to woo readers, but also being in an expansion mode to strengthen reach in their respective territories. Amid the launch of national and local editions, interestingly, some of the newspapers came up with hyper-local editions dedicated to particular areas, communities or sections of the society. Keeping in the mind the kind of investment these editions require, exchange4media seeks to find out whether hyper-local editions work for newspapers, whether they are cost effective, and how advertisers looked at these editions as a medium.

Among the dailies that have increased focus with local editions in the market are Hindustan Times, Navbharat Times, Rashtriya Sahara and Hindustan. Hindustan Times launched its local edition in Gurgaon in July 2010, while Navbharat Times came up with a local edition with eight pages dedicated to local Gurgaon news in August 2010. Rashtriya Sahara and Hindustan launched eight-page local pullout issues for readers in Noida. August 2010 onwards, Faridabad and Ghaziabad began being served by Navbharat Times’ hyper-local editions.

Mid-Day Gujarati, too, came up with ‘Mid-Day Local’ for the readers of Borivali, Kandivali and Malad areas in Mumbai. Weekly tabloid Jagran City also operates with hyper-local editions.

While, hyper-local editions engage readers with the brand, they also give local advertisers an opportunity to reach out to their core target groups. Janardhan Pandey, Business Director, Mudra Radar, is quite optimistic and believes that this concept work. According to him, they could penetrate deeper into these local territories and deliver localised content in a customised way in each selected territory, which was not viable otherwise. “This way, they are addressing each important locality extensively without any wastage of copies/ pages. Otherwise, it won’t be possible for any newspaper to cover specific territories completely, extensively and customise the news as per local taste, if they intend doing it in their regular editions. Such initiatives will surely augment their ad revenues as well as readership,” he added.

Priti Murthy, National Director, Insights Maxus, remarked that these editions were cost effective and added, “As many readers are curious to know about the happenings of their locality, these editions give all the related updates to the readers.”

However, Vikas Madhwar, Media Director, Lintas Media Group, felt that initially these editions would not be cost effective, but as more numbers of advertisers started coming in, these editions would become cost effective. “These editions will work for newspapers because with the help of such editions, any advertiser can do focused targeting. If he has a focus or he wants to do any activity in a particular area, then he can choose the area, but in case of a full city edition, it is a waste,” Madhwar stressed.

Mohit Joshi, Executive Director – North, MPG, was confident that hyper-local editions did work, but he seemed to be sceptical about these editions being cost effective. He believed, “Cost effectiveness is more on a case to case basis.”

An opportunity for advertisers
While newspapers are eying small retailers as active advertisers for their local editions, some national retail advertisers who have local reach also see hyper-local editions as more cost-effective. Murthy felt that probably national editions could not give small advertisers as good an offer as local editions. From the advertisers’ point of view, these editions are beneficial as they need not pay unnecessarily in national editions. Also, these editions are good for those national advertisers, too, who are in the retail space, besides working in local markets as well.

She further said that after the global recession, newspapers needed to attract new advertisers and it was good if by adding a few more pages they were getting them.

On similar lines, Pandey commented, “Local businesses with no formal or bare minimum advertising budgets can take advantage of communicating through credible media vehicles at affordable rates. Via hyper-local editions, they are able to communicate with prospects within their business boundaries. This will help small businesses to get the advantages of communicating through credible media, which has been available to only large advertisers with big budgets so far.”

Citing an example, Madhwar explained that if any brand had an outlet only in Guragon, then with the help of such editions it could focus on the required place and consumers. “In the absence of such editions, brands had to take the main edition and there would be a lot of wastage of money, hence hyper-local editions are going to be beneficial,” he affirmed.

According to MPG’s Joshi, the age of hyper localisation had already started with the online space taking the lead, so this was the right time to hyper localise as it gave the print medium a unique selling proposition.

Speaking from the advertisers’ point of view, Joshi noted, “As marketing is turning hyper local, these editions give an opportunity to the advertisers to advertise a local event, even a BTL event, in a very focused manner to the relevant audience or market.”

As we are approaching 2011, publishers are also set to lure more readers through localised editions and it will be interesting to see how advertisers leverage these medium for better impact and RoI.
 

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