Jaldi 5 with Raj Datta: TOI has a strong youth connect but ABP is undisputed leader

16 Oct,2012

It was launched with much fanfare in Kolkata yesterday. But will Ei Samay from The Times of India stable be able to create enough impact in the Ananda Bazar Patrika-dominated Bengal market? We spoke to Raj Datta, Senior GM, MPG-Kolkata for his first impressions on the new daily.


Raj Datta

On the qualitative front a lot of the editorial team has moved from ABP to TOI, almost to prove a point as DNA had done to TOI, giving ABP a run for its money. So they know the market, its people and the competition, a heady combination. Editorial content being good, the case would be to develop their weekend content and other sections.

On the quantitative front, Ei Samay is offering very competitive introductory pricing. For a  six-month subscription, the package is Rs 175, as also special and bumper pricing helping to increase circulation potential and get  hold of those initial eyeballs. Re-subscription would remain to be seen, but undoubtedly they will garner a captive audience for the first six months, really quite a bit of time for a reader to get habituated to style and format.


02 Will a Bengali newspaper from The Times of India stable will be able to dent the market?

Historically and in numbers, ABP has been the undisputed leader in Kolkata with a sticky brand loyalty associated with them. TOI has had marketing muscle, been innovative and agile with a strong youth connect and flexibility to changing technologies and trends.

Whether Ei Samay will dent the market or not remains to be seen but certainly they will dent the method of operation of the ABP group making them more aggressive, reactive and proactive. Already there has been a review in its pricing, something they have not with other entrants and Ei Bela launched to target a younger segment in a compact newspaper format akin to a Mid-Day.


03 How was the response  for the launch issues= of Ei Samay?

The first issue was out at an inaugural 72 pages, a first-timer for a newspaper anytime, anywhere. The editorial content was very good and it had some great innovations, like there was a French window on the front page which opened half way on both sides. It certainly hit you in one shot as it aimed to do. The response would have to be a wait and watch but certainly it’s something ABP will respond proactively to.


04 About Ei Samay, Times group editorial director Jaideep Bose wrote, “It will be Ei Samay’s endeavour to champion its readers’ causes in every possible way — be it to enhance their quality of life, or help rejuvenate Bengal, or create opportunities for the young, or simply provide a platform for ideas and solutions.” Do you think the product epitomises this thinking?

The recent IRS confirmed that ABP’s youth profile is poor, something which Ei Bela is positioned to counter-act to balance the absolute number rule with the problematic youth area panacea.

Traditionally, TOI has had a strong youth connect with experience in marketing initiatives and the ‘power of ideas’ involving a younger audience. It knows how to bring in the celebrity and style, talk of where the next party, poetry reading or art show is happening; or come up with editorial sections by student or experts. It knows how to create events and awards to take center stage.


05 How are advertisers responding? 

Ei Samay’s pricing is extremely competitive and the packaging very attractive with add-on rates at just Rs.150-Rs.200 making it a value-for-money part of the advertising offering. It is essentially targeting Kolkota city over the rest of Bengal. Ei Bela by ABP is also targeted to the city and is offering competitive advertising rates as are the ABP group publications but TOI is being extremely aggressive on this front.

The corporate business should be easy for TOI to garner with most of the companies having offices in other cities too, but the real fight is in the retail business, which is huge… like saris, jewellery, etc. And there are other Kolkota publications like Bartaman and Sambad Pratidin too.


As told to Ananya Saha


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One response to “Jaldi 5 with Raj Datta: TOI has a strong youth connect but ABP is undisputed leader”

  1. Himanshu Agarwal says:

    My recent experience with a contest on ABP News!