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Is there a market for eveningers?
Aabhas Sharma in New Delhi | January 11, 2006
Rajasthan Patrika launches its eveninger News Today. Will it sustain the hype?
Eveningers are supposed to be for people who don't have any time to browse through morning newspapers. The concept may sound lucrative, but as far as ground reality goes, eveningers still haven't worked too successfully in India.
Which is why the Rs 450-500 crore (Rs 4.5 to 5 billion), Jaipur-based, Hindi daily, Rajasthan Patrika's launch of its evening daily News Today on January 6, 2006 came as a bit of surprise.
According to Arvind Kalia, national director, marketing, Rajasthan Patrika, "We want to offer an integrated 360-degree solution to our readers. We are trying to make our presence felt in different genres."
He explains that the company, besides bidding for radio space, also has a creative department working on hoardings and providing outdoor services.
It also boasts of a yellow pages directory and has its presence in interactive activities through mobile phones and the Net. According to him, "News Today is just another opportunity for us to reach out to our readers and extend our services."
But is there really a need for an eveninger in a city like Jaipur? "Why not?" counters Kalia, "Jaipur has seen a heady pace in development and can be compared to any other metro." Priced at Re 1, the target audience for News Today, says Kalia, "will be regular readers of mainline Hindi morning newspapers with a majority of them being the working class Indian."
News Today, according to him, will tap individuals who barely get the time to flip through mainstream newspapers but are keen on detailed analyses and updates. "That's where our eveninger will step in," explains Kalia. It will also point the way ahead: "We will first gauge the response in Jaipur and then step into different cities and markets," he says.
For starters, the pages of News Today will collate global and national news along with information on Rajasthan. A sizeable part will also be devoted to cinema, entertainment, IT, electronics and automobiles.
The company is happy with the response to the initial print-run of 60,000 copies, "a figure", as Kalia puts it, "that is well above a few local eveningers". According to his statistics, the total combined circulation of other local eveningers in Jaipur is barely 25,000 copies.
The on-ground advertising campaigns with television ads and hoardings have managed some hype. Though the product is open to all advertisers, Kalia says, "Our main interest is finance companies, real-estate, and automobiles, since they directly affect our target readers."
Will News Today manage to attract and, more importantly, sustain readers? That's one story the organisation must be waiting to write.