And so, the city of Pune will have it’s 4th English Daily this weekend.
Market sources inform me that The Hindustan Times is all set to launch its Pune edition this Saturday and from what I hear it would be with a whopper 50 pages + issue.
That isn’t surprising considering it is a launch, but what is interesting is that they would be doing this kind of pagination a couple of times a week, obviously investing sizeable resources in the Pune offering.
Indicated numbers in the first few days are likely to be on the higher side of a lakh of copies which points to large scale sampling to be carried out in several pockets of the city.
Targeting the TOI households and regional daily subscribers must be fairly high on their priority list. They seem to have got a decent footing with their printing being outsourced to Lokmat group and from what one hears, this association may soon be extended to other areas.
This is when the game will get interesting…
As a keen media watcher, this is going to be yet another case worth monitoring considering the way our city is expanding beyond its seams.
If and when a collaboration of sorts does take place with a regional leader like Lokmat or someone else, the dynamics will change and hopefully change for the better good of advertisers, readers and the publishers in question.
Leveraging the inherent strength of a regional brand that comes with a well penetrated market will obviously make the distribution that much easier. If this association goes a step further to an advertising tie-up, the plot will thicken further !
HT Mumbai and Pune + Lokmat ( or any other significant player ) at a cost that is just above the TOI Pune rate would then be a lethal combination for advertisers who will benefit from multiple audiences and markets.
If this scenario develops, TOI Pune may lose a significant share of its local advertising. And what better time to do this then now, when we are witnessing is a visible albeit slow resurgence in advertising spends.
As of now, this is a hypothesis but I wouldn’t be surprised if this does become a reality since it is of mutual benefit to both HT and Lokmat.
Lokmat is already claiming their leadership in this market ( albeit the lack of ABC numbers to prove it ) but that isn’t relevant as long as they have mindshare that is sizeable enough to move the big bucks.
For now content will play a significant role since there is growing discontentment among the loyal TOI readers and a good alternative may just do much better than TOI believes.
A number that is around 70,000 copies would be enough to upset the local advertising shares in this market. And moreover, being a good second in a largish market like Pune is all that it takes, to bring in sizeable revenues that is truly the hallmark of a successful print player.
It is a different matter that digital media brands are growing faster than print, but that is now universal truth.
For now, I wish HT all success. May the city have a solid product that adds value to our mornings. Bring it on guys!
Jd also consults in Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing, both of which are integral to his brand interventions.