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Bengali tabloid ‘Ebela’ experiences
the overwhelming initial response

The ABP group's core strengths, which distinguishes it among the news dissemination establishments in India, lie in excelling the art and science of the newspaper business, uncompromising and high quality editorial, and a multimedia bouquet across newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and web, with leading properties in each category. On this line, ABP’s newly launched Bengali tabloid Ebela continues creating another success story, marking the overwhelming initial response. What all distinguishable about it, briefs Supriyo Sinha, vice president - Bengali dailies, Anandabazar Patrika and Ebela, ABP Pvt Ltd, while sharing his views with All About Newspapers.

When the newspaper industry has been witnessing ‘stress’, the ABP group has launched another Bengali newspaper Ebela. On being asked what’s strategy behind it, Supriyo Sinha conveys, “Anandabazar Patrika, the ABP group's flagship newspaper brand has remained a clear market leader by far with close to thirteen lac of daily circulation and nearly sixty lacs daily readers. However, based on our market research, we have noticed that the needs of the next generation are quite different. Therefore, there was a clear demand for a ‘different’ newspaper catering to the young at heart. The approach involves having two very different daily newspapers in Bengali catering to the distinct preferences for different reader categories. Our fundamental belief is that the readership market for this product exists (as is evident from the overwhelming initial response) and hence will create value.”

“Within just three months of its launch, Ebela is already selling close to 3.25 lacs copies every day. This is clearly a massive record. It has already become the second largest Bengali newspaper in Kolkata, racing ahead of Bartaman which sells just under two lacs in the city. To put it in perspective, Ebela's circulation of 3.25 lacs is almost half of the Kolkata circulation of Anandabazar Patrika (circulation of seven lacs in 90 years). Ebela is also the third largest daily newspaper in Kolkata irrespective of language, racing ahead of even The Times of India in the city. This means that the top three newspapers in Kolkata are Anandabazar Patrika, The Telegraph and Ebela - all three from the ABP group,” he says further, talking about the response received so far since the launch of Ebela.

How Ebela is different from ABP group’s flagship newspaper Anandabazar Patrika? Supriyo Sinha, explains, “Ebela is a regular daily newspaper. However, Ebela comes in a tabloid format (ABP is a broadsheet). Ebela is very colourful, full of pictures, having a detailed coverage of national and international sports through a very different approach, and a separate section on entertainment called ‘Obela’, and so on. The news presentation is totally different from Anandabazar Patrika. The editorial and brand teams are also different and operate as individual separate businesses.”

Prevailing challenges...

Sharing his view about prevailing major challenges in the newspaper industry, especially in India, an insightful professional Supriyo, mentioned that the industry will continue to face two main challenges: competition from other media like TV and web for ad revenues, and continued cost pressures through newsprint costs, operational costs, exchange rates, etc. “In order to overcome these, the industry will have to be innovative to design customised and integrated ad solutions to create value for advertisers (vanilla print advertising will not suffice), along with continuously tightening the grips on operational costs through a ‘lean’ methodology,” he suggests.

He also criticized the phenomenon of ‘paid news. “I think ‘paid news’ should not exist. It defeats the trust that a reader has in a newspaper and does not serve anybody in the long run,’’ concludes Supriyo, a young connoisseur of the genre who believes in 'real action'. Notably, after his Engineering from IIT Kharagpur and MBA from IIM kolkata, Supriyo worked for about nine years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. There, his work was primarily in financial services (in terms of industry) and on human capital (in terms of function). However, beyond a point, Supriyo thought moving on from consulting to 'real action' would help and hence he joined the ABP group as the vice president of Anandabazar Patrika, the flagship brand. After joining, Supriyo led the effort on launching Ebela and is now enjoying his role by all means.

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