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Times Crest shut down puts spotlight on tough realities of newspaper business

17-July-2013
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Times Crest shut down puts spotlight on tough realities of newspaper business

BCCL India’s largest publishing company is shutting down its Saturday special, Times Crest.  July 20 is slated to be last edition of the paper.

The broadsheet that was launched in 2009, tried hard to create a niche for itself. With long format, insightful, analytical stories, the paper had created a loyal audience base.

An avid fan of the paper, Ravi Rao, Leader, Mindhshare South Asia said, “One good weekend read gone now,” on this Facebook page.

With increasing media fragmentation and saturation in urban markets, the going has got tough for English dailies when it comes to increasing circulation and readership.

“Crest is an excellent product – editorially rich and stimulating in every way. It fills the gap that a quick-read newspaper typically leaves. It fulfils the need for a weekend read. In many ways, I saw it as a fitting new-gen avatar of the Illustrated Weekly of India!” said Harish Bijoor, Brand Expert and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults.

“I believe the gap was in advertising, not content or circulation,” he added. “All products take time to seep into the consumer psyche and habit. Crest showed that promise, but it would certainly have taken time!” further said Bijoor.

As compared to the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2012 Q3 data, where seven of the top 10 English dailies saw growth in Average Issue Readership (AIR), only five of the top 10 English dailies saw growth in AIR in IRS Q4 data realised in April this year.

Times of India, BCCL’s flagship daily, which had seen growth in IRS Q3, witnessed decline in IRS Q4 as well.

With metros and larger cities increasingly witnessing intense competition, marketers, advertisers and publishers are either trying to consolidate their presence in the regional markets or create a window for themselves. The process of expansion and consolidation has been happening since the last couple of years and states such as Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have seen several major players enter the market.

Revenues at Dainik Bhaskar, India’s second largest Hindi language paper, grew at around 10 per cent in the year ending march 2013, whereas HT Media, a company that competes directly with BCCL in many markets, delivered a topline growth of around two per cent, underlining where future growth for newspapers will come from.

BCCL itself has been very aggressive on regional space with launches across the country – from Bengal to expansion in Maharashtra.

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