The India Today group is going to launch a morning daily general newspaper.
The proposed newspaper is expected to be launched in Delhi. With this move, the Aroon Purie-promoted media giant will clash head on with Bennett, Coleman & Co (which runs Times of India) and Hindustan Times Ltd.
India Today CEO Ashish Bagga declined to comment on the group's new foray. However, industry sources said it was looking at a tabloid format and could go in for foreign institutional funding to partly finance the project.
The India Today group publishes a range of magazines that include India Today in English and various regional languages, Business Today, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, Design Today, Golf Digest and Good Housekeeping. The group launched a Bengali edition of India Today last month.
It also runs television channels, which include popular Hindi news channel Aaj Tak and Tej and English channel -- Headlines Today. The group made its foray into the newspaper business with Today, an eveninger, in Delhi.
The proposed newspaper comes at a time when the Delhi market is already crowded with at least four national dailies -- Times of India, Hindustan Times, Indian Express and The Hindu. Even DNA, launched in Mumbai some months back, has shown interest in publishing from Delhi.
In case the India Today group comes out with a tabloid version, it will not be the first media house to do so. Bennett, Coleman publishes Mumbai Mirror, a morning tabloid, in Mumbai.
Delhi, of course, is a crucial market where TOI and HT are running neck and neck. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, both TOI and HT had a circulation of 11 lakh copies in July-December 2005.