Is there room for DNA in Delhi and Mail Today in Mumbai?

16 Apr,2013


By Ananya Saha


Mumbai-based DNA is reportedly galloping ahead towards the capital. Launched on July 30, 2005, in Mumbai, DNA (short for Daily News & Analysis) is an English broadsheet daily owned by Diligent Media Corporation, now an Essel Group company. With presence in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Indore, the recently refreshed daily is scheduled to be in Delhi on May 13. While NCR is seen as a battleground for the English heavyweights Times of India and Hindustan Times, many English dailies do not boast of good readership numbers in this market. Does the Delhi market need yet another English daily?


Sundeep Nagpal

“I don’t think there is too much room for another English daily in Delhi, at least in terms of readership,” says Sundeep Nagpal, Founder-Director of Stratagem Media, an independent media agency. “The English daily readership as a category, went up by about 5% around the turn of the last decade, but it’s back to the level that it was at, in 2008. However, what seems to be happening in most major markets, is that they seem to be able to absorb additional circulation to some extent. So, basically this suggests fragmentation,” Mr Nagpal adds.


Anwesh Bose, Senior Vice President- Media, DDB Mudra is of the view that DNA is launching Delhi more with an image perspective in mind than revenues, for now. “With the Delhi launch they would be able to call themselves a national daily, finally,” he said. DNA has plans to eventually be present in all the four metros, and then launch its financial daily too in these markets. The Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Indore editions are franchised to the Dainik Bhaskar group, formerly joint venture partner of Zee in Diligent Media.


Anwesh Bose

But to capture readers and advertisers in Delhi, DNA would have to be aggressive in its positioning, and promotions, and adopt a push and pull strategy. As Mr Nagpal viewed it, DNA will have to create a market of its own and that would mostly happen in terms of a share of time spent on reading, and not as much in terms of new readers. Meanwhile, DNA has firmed up its team in Delhi with senior journalist Saikat Datta being appointed as the Resident Editor.


Mr Bose said, “DNA would have to step into Delhi with deep pockets as they need to sustain for a long period of time before they can see profitability. Their strategy ideally should be of first of all establishing themselves as a brand that stands for something.” The new daily, according to him would have to come up with interesting ways of increasing their circulation, since the old methods of free gifting on long-term subscription does not hold any value anymore.


While DNA is planning to enter Delhi, the capital’s compact daily newspaper – Mail Today – is getting set for a Mumbai launch this year. Mumbai has seen a reasonable healthy growth of 40 percent in readership of English dailies over the last six years, whereas Delhi has been at about 18 percent only, vis-a-vis 2005, asserts Mr Nagpal.


Having launched in Chandigarh recently, Mail Today will have to compete with Mid-Day and Mumbai Mirror in Mumbai.


AS Raghunath

AS Raghunath, a senior print media brand consultant based in the capital, is of the view that Mail Today will be able to carve the niche in Mumbai. He said, “The Chandigarh and Delhi editions of Mail Today usually have a front ad jacket. So they do have a permanent source of revenue. Content-wise, Mail Today is a mixed bag and carries an ‘exclusive’, usually every day, which no other daily has. Even Twitter and Facebook communities quote Mail Today. Also, given the fact that Mumbai is a multi-newspaper market with English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati dailies and publications, I am sure Mail Today will be able to carve a niche for itself.” He further added that while size will not be a challenge for Mail Today, any daily going in Mumbai would probably not add numerically to the market.


On Mail Today’s stint in Delhi, Mr Bose remarked, “Mail Today is by no measure a success in Delhi… although, they have tried their best. It is bought more on relationship with the India Today Group than because of its content differentiation.” Mr Nagpal concurs that for a large cross-section of advertisers, Mail Today did not offer a unique/significant enough benefit.


According to Mr Nagpal, “Mumbai Mirror (MM) has been able to create a huge dent in the market”. “It has stalled other competitors right where they were in their tracks and even eaten away their share considerably over the last five years, so I think MM is quite a success. But that does not mean that every new tabloid will do as well” he added. Mr Bose, however, holds a different view. He said, “Even with the might of TOI behind it, Mumbai Mirror could not make a huge dent, therefore it will be an uphill task for Mail Today to achieve success.” Mr Nagpal is of the view that Mumbai ought to be an easier market for Mail Today, for a whole lot of other reasons such as being more cosmopolitan, more adaptable, etc.


The advertisers, obviously, would watch with interest as to the direction in which each of these publications grow in the respective markets. “It is sure that a lot of advertisers would get free space or space at a very marginal cost to begin with as the publications would want the advertisers to sample their product as well as it becomes a talking point with other advertisers for the publication. Also, there would be a lot of freebies during the circulation drive, so the consumer is going to make merry,” opined Mr Bose.


Success or not, only time will tell. But it is sure a sign of healthy growth for the print sector. As Mr Bose concluded, “Print has seen a growth in 2012, where it grew by 9 percent compared to 2011. This year print would gain more as a lot of TV-friendly categories have shown interest in print, primarily to drive sales in a period of slowdown.”


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One response to “Is there room for DNA in Delhi and Mail Today in Mumbai?”

  1. Sundar R says:

    DNA should launch new editions from Hyderabad , Madras , Calcutta , Bhubaneswar , Guwahati etc cities also where there is a need for a new english daily .