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Direct reader connect – current mantra in the Mumbai print scene

19-September-2005
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Direct reader connect – current mantra in the Mumbai print scene

Getting the reader had not been so much work for newspapers in a while now. The heated Mumbai print market is seeing action coming from all newspapers and some of the most prominent ones are from the oldest player – The Times of India.

Promotional activities from newcomers like DNA and HT have been in the market for a while. DNA has been more active and its on-ground associations with Ganpati Mandals were seen encashing on the city’s festive spirit.

The building of the on-ground reader connect seems to be an important step in the daily lives of newspapers now. The Times of India is unleashing back-to-back activities to “increase reader involvement with the paper”.

One major initiative was seen with the ‘Su Dokhu’ contest that was supported by outdoor campaigns. The second one was ‘Who Will Win the Indian Idol’ contest, revolving around Ganesh Chaturthi and again supported by outdoor activities. The paper’s Brand Director, Rahul Kansal, divulged that this was just the beginning of various such activities.

Giving a rationale behind the activities, Kansal said, “In the domain of a general daily morning newspaper, such activities are raw material for the newspaper. We write about it and in the process take our place as the partners of our readers in whatever they do. Newspapers are in any case a part of their lives. The next step for us is to take these activities and physically connect with them, which is why you see these contests.”

“We try our best to be an active part, whether it’s tragedy or a reason for festivity. In a campaign like Su Dokhu it is more focussed when we are speaking to the book loving communities, and in activities like Ganpati, we are reaching out to the masses. Our activities will be a mix like this – of reaching select targets and mass readers,” he added.

Kansal further said, “As more programmes unfold, all the way down to the forthcoming festivals, our intention is to forge stronger bonds with our reader communities. What drives communities is important to us and with these activities we will be a more intrinsic part of the reader’s lives.”

On being questioned as to why no action was seen around Mumbai Mirror anymore, Kansal replied, “The communication requirements of both papers differ on the basis of the lifecycle stage they are in. For Mumbai Mirror, we still have to make the paper be seen, which is why you see the ‘Flash your Mirror’ initiative, which will continue for a while.”

He explained that BCCL’s attempt at present was to widen Mirror’s presence and deepen Times, “ToI is a mature brand and Mirror is new. Times is about involvement and Mirror is still about promotions.”

Where some players are heavy on the mass communication-promotion combination, players like HT or old hands like Indian Express haven’t invested much in the promotions or the on-ground route.

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