New, newer, news: Mid-Day’s changing

07 Sep,2011

On September 6, 2011, Mid-Day came out in a new avatar with a new design and structure. The move seeks to offer the reader news in a convenient way, with several changes across editions bound to build up interest around the newspaper.

On expectations from the change, Mr Sachin Kalbag, Executive Editor, Mid-Day, said, The USP of the newspaper will remain its city coverage, no matter which city we operate in. While our flagship edition will still remain Mumbai (and the structural changes have been brought about only in Mumbai, while design change is universal), we will continue to do hard-hitting stories across editions. My expectations from the newspaper are the same as they were on the day I joined: to do the kind of journalism we always dreamed about. To do stories that create impact.

Increase in pages at same price point

Even as other newspapers are decreasing the number of pages they offer, Mid-Day increased the number of pages from 48 to 64, out of which 15 pages will be dedicated to city news.

Mr Manajit Ghoshal, MD and CEO, Mid-Day Infomedia said We were getting a lot of feedback from our readers that there were more advertisements and less content. Hence, to cater to the needs of our readers, we decided to increase the content. The number of city and sports pages has been increased substantially. When asked if there will be a hike in cover-price owing to these changes, Mr Ghoshal said There will be no price hike right now. The readers of Mid-Day will get 30% more content in Mid-Day at the same price point.

Reintroduction of editorial pages

It is noteworthy, that several newspapers have earlier got rid of their opinion and editorial pages, citing the reason that the pages can’t garner advertising revenue and that it has low readership. However, Mid-Day has gone ahead and re-introduced the opinion pages. When asked about this move, Mr Ghoshal said While it is true that editorial pages can’t reap revenues, the industry of journalism is not only about making profits. We feel it is essential for a media company to inform and also give opinion and take stands.

With this reinstatement of their platform, columnists will write across all sectors  politics, civic issues, national affairs, internal security, foreign policy, sports, fashion and humour.

New design and structure

The newspaper is divided into two clear sections now, which can be easily distinguished. Section one comprises news, opinion and sports. Section two will cover all about entertainment, city, films, television, a comprehensive city events and food guide. There will also be lifestyle features on health, travel, sex, relationships, and fashion etcetera. The entire section two will be called HitList.

Also, our readers observed, that the section two of our newspaper was not clearly identifiable. Hence, now we have a colourful and bold logo which clearly demarcates it now. Logos for sports and classified pages have changed too, said Mr Ghoshal.

Advertisers, too, will find that their ads are easy to find, and are not lost in the clutter. Classified and Film advertising will now have their own dedicated pages towards the end of Section two, to clearly demarcate them from the rest.

Commenting on how these changes will impact Mid-Day’s popularity and readership Mr Kalbag said To be honest, design will not get us more readers; content will. We have already changed the newspaper’s reporting paradigm in the last few months. We will continue to do hard-hitting, relevant stories that shake up the authorities.

What the new design and new structure will do, is make reading and navigating the newspaper much more simple. One of the prime complaints that our readers had was that the newspaper is cluttered. It is a perception that we want to change with the new design. Mid-Day will be easy on the eye, and more important, news and information will be easy to find, added Mr Kalbag.

Interestingly, apart from the main cover page, Sports and HitList will also have individual cover pages to pique the interest of the readers, and to differentiate from the crowd.

How increase in pages impact bottomline

During recession, most newspapers across boards had cut down on the number pages, and Mid-Day was no stranger to such a situation. However, when asked how the increase in pages will now impact the bottomline, Mr Ghoshal said It is true that such considerations did come to our mind but we had no choice but to cater wholeheartedly to our readers with content. We have been increasing circulation through constant expansion. To cater to the length and breadth of our audience we had to come with newer and more interesting stories  hence the increase in the number of pages.

The changes made by Mid-Day in their product will definitely churn some interest and add value to the product. The new design and the new structure seek to perform an essential aim  to make news and information that is relevant to the audiences in the simplest, most accessible manner.

 

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