Exclusive Story
Prabhat Khabar escalates with
additional focus on digital platform

Being a widely read and loved Hindi daily in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Prabhat Khabar is people’s favourite in the region due to its content and layout, which are not only different but unique from other dailies circulating around. ALL ABOUT NEWSPAPERS finds out some fresh developments in the newspaper in a freewheel interaction with three of its leaders: KK Goenka, managing director; RK Dutta, executive director; and Ashutosh Chaturvedi, chief editor, Prabhat Khabar.

From time to time, in accordance to the changes in trend and tradition of news media, Prabhat Khabar keeps innovating in terms of its content and layout. This update has been a constant process of the daily since its inception in the year 1984 in Ranchi. And this is how Prabhat Khabar has gained a firm ground, making itself one of the most read and loved newspapers in Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Mention of some latest developments at Prabhat Khabar includes the newspaper’s new venture into the digital arena, which is said to be a supplementation and a new approach to draw new readership. “In addition to our venture towards digital, we have re-launched our Siliguri edition and Panchayatnama—our fortnightly publication on rural musings,” says KK Goenka, managing director, Prabhat Khabar.

Editions and circulation

Prabhat Khabar has 10 editions produced from 10 cities across the states of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The editions are from Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Deoghar (in Jharkhand); Patna, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Gaya (in Bihar); Kolkata and Siliguri (in West Bengal). As per the estimate of Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), overall circulation of Prabhat Khabar collectively in all three states is counted to 8.70 lakh copies per day, as of July-December 2016. The circulation thus segregated state-wise as 3.57 lakh copies in Jharkhand, 4.37 lakh copies in Bihar, and 0.76 lakh copies in West Bengal.

Content and quality

Prabhat Khabar is different from its counterparts in terms of content and quality in different parameters. “We are loved by the local people, because our content is more on local news and features. We keep going on in this pace because we know the pulse of our local readers,” says RK Dutta, executive director, Prabhat Khabar. He adds that Prabhat Khabar is the only newspaper in Bihar and Jharkhand with four editions each in the states, and likewise, two editions in West Bengal.

Moreover, Prabhat Khabar can be defined as the only Hindi daily with 10 editions in the eastern zone. “It is a fact that we are the leading Hindi daily in Jharkhand; the similar reputation is what we are making it to happen soon in Bihar and West Bengal too, as our circulation and popularity in these two states are readily escalating,” mentions KK Goenka. When it comes to print quality, Prabhat Khabar is at par with any competitor or any standard newspaper in the country.

Production facilities

Prabhat Khabar is printed in its own facility where equipped a line of state-of-the-art web offset presses from two leading Indian web offset machine manufacturers—Manugraph and The Printers House (TPH). Currently installed at the facility are three Manugraph presses, viz. Cityline, Starline and Newsline—and a TPH Orient Super.

On innovations, Ashutosh Chaturvedi, chief editor, Prabhat Khabar says, “We are constantly adding innovations into print as well as editorial content on regular basis to connect with our readers at an utmost satisfactory level. Recently we have adopted eight villages in Jharkhand and Bihar, where we try to develop lifestyle of the villagers and overall village. We also organise regular events like Pratibha Samman, Career Fair, Guru Samman, Career Counseling, Musical Night and others with our ‘Brand Team’ and FM Radio as readers connect programme.”

Future vision

When it comes to the debate on the ‘end of printed newspapers’ everybody has a comment, either a speculation or a reality. In this, KK Goenka reveals the reality, “There is no doubt that the growth of ads in printed newspapers will be declined a bit in the digital and online era. Root cause of it may include the change in lifestyle among readers, particularly young people. But at the same time, the impact, reach and credibility of printed words can never be substituted by any other medium,” he says, adding with a firm belief that print medium will prosper and will be supplemented and complimented by the digital medium.

“Let’s look at the market five years down the line. In the next five years, it is expected that regional dailies will continue to grow in India due to increase in literacy rate and people’s buying power. In India, newspapers are still much cheaper compared to other offshore countries. This will also be a major reason for growth of printed newspapers in the country in near future.

On the digital front, according to RK Dutta, there will be growth at a rapid pace due to the emergence of advanced and affordable internet and other allied technologies and services, such as Jio. “It however doesn’t mean suppression upon

the printed newspapers; it (digital) will compliment the print media because most of the print players, like us, are now investing in digital,” he adds.

In India, it’s perceptible that print media is still the most credible media compared to others, such as social media, visual media and so on. In this respect, KK Goenka says, “If print is able to maintain its credibility it will continue to grow.” In a conclusive note, as a goodwill message to Prabhat Khabar readers, he delivers: “Content is King! Please do not go after cheaper cover price, which is fixed to generally compromise on editorial content. Go for newspaper with sound and independent journalism.”


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