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‘In India print media is still evolving
and there is huge scope for Hindi dailies’

– envisages Debabrata Mishra,
president, sales and marketing, National Duniya

For those of you wondering where Nai Duniya has vanished from Delhi, we must tell you that after the acquisition of Nai Duniya by Jagran Prakashan, the entire team of Nai Dunia, Delhi has launched their new Hindi daily, National Duniya. Here’s Smita Dwivedi (SD) in an exclusive conversation with Debabrata Mishra (DM).

SD: Can you tell us little bit about you as when and how you got associated with the newspaper industry?

DM: After completing my post graduation in Analytical and Applied Economics I, like all others tried for civil services but to no avail. Then in 1989, I got associated with The Times of India (TOI), Bhubaneswar in Result & Market Development (circulation department) as an executive and started my long career in sales in print media. Initially, I was not very comfortable with the profile in the organisation as it was more to do with the vendors and readers. However, gradually I fell in love with the job profile as I realised that reaching out to the end users i.e. readers is the most crucial part in the newspaper industry, as being highly perishable as a product, it will have no value if it does not reach market at the right time. In 1995, I moved to Delhi, and after spending further seven years in TOI, moved to HT for next three years. In 2002, I moved into language daily Amar Ujala as national head - sales, and spent four years which gave me great exposure to new market of language dailies whose target audience, demographic and socio economic profile are completely different from English dailies’ target audience.

SD: When there are so many English, Hindi and other vernacular newspapers available, do you find any need for another Hindi daily?

Debabrata Mishra, president,
sales and marketing, National Duniya
DM: You will be amazed to know that newspaper industry or print media in India is still evolving and there is huge scope in language as well as Hindi dailies. If you talk about print penetration, in case of UP the print penetration is hardly 28 percent while literacy rate is around 70 percent. In Madhya Pradesh, print penetration is around 23 percent only. The story is same for almost all states barring Chandigarh and few other states. While saying so, I have to add that only the best in terms of content, quality and marketing will survive in the fiercely competitive market. In case of National Duniya, even though it is a new launch in Delhi NCR, the team was the same of Nai Dunia, Delhi, and filled the void which was created due to the closure of Nai Dunia. Even though there are other Hindi dailies in Delhi market, there is still great scope for National Duniya, as better content and intelligent marketing always attracts more readers.

SD: What are the reasons behind the closure of Nai Duniya’s Delhi edition? Was it pre-decided before the acquisition of the company by Jagran Prakashan, to come together for the launch of a new Hindi daily?

DM: As DJ was buying the brand Nai Dunia in MP and Chhattisgarh, as well as Delhi, it was obvious that they would continue with Nai Dunia in MP and CG as they could not have gone with their own brand name due to some technical problems, while at the same time for them there was no need to continue Nai Dunia in Delhi as they have their own presence in the region. Thus, we anticipated the same and were planning for a new product with the same team under a new promoter. And that’s how National Duniya was launched on March 30, 2012, while Nai Dunia was closed on March 29, 2012, with Alok Mehta as our editor-in-chief and ESSBEE Media as our promoter.

SD: Being a new entrant to the market and having limited circulation at the moment, how would you market your brand to media and marketing professionals? And also how would you define the salient features of your newspaper as an advertising medium?

DM: Even though technically we are a new entrant in Delhi, for all practical purposes the readers and advertisers accepted us as if we were there for ages. We have already a relevant circulation of more than one lakh copies in Delhi and are growing. Our editorial and sales as well as marketing teams are very experienced and understand the readers' need. We are targeting a circulation of more than two lakh copies by the end of this year and thereby will serve the need of our commercial and retail advertisers.

As far as content goes, we try to be as transparent as we can and honest in our approach. Besides the 16-page all colour profile, we give four page pull out on the metro happenings on two days a week. We are the only one to give a complete 16-page magazine on Health named Kayakalp every Friday while on Wednesdays we give a tabloid on women Humsafar. On Sundays, we give a 48-page GNP magazine on leisure reading. With so many offerings to the readers, we stand out amongst the Hindi dailies in Delhi. Very soon, we will be spreading out to three more states which will offer our advertiser a larger scope.

SD: The circulation and readership are the most discussed figures for any publications. How you react to regular ups and downs in these numbers?

DM: I always had maintained that circulation department in newspaper house must concentrate on having circulation which translates into readership. Without that the exercise in increasing circulation is very futile. Many of the houses float lot of reader and trade incentive schemes to gain numbers in high volume without scientifically studying that whether this growth will convert into readership growth. As such after the scheme period the growth falls. There are few publication houses that focus on segmented growth and they grow steadily in the desired segments. In their case, the readership movement is also very stable. With the quarterly results of readership now, if any organisation is having too much of ups and downs in its readership, then there is something gravely wrong with its basics.

SD: What is going to be your philosophy regarding Circulation & Readership? What are the initiatives you are planning to implement to increase these numbers?

DM: As I had mentioned, the circulation must translate into readership and at the same time all newspaper houses must focus on ad-relevant circulation. In our case, we have divided the metro city into five divisions and further each division has so many zones. Besides the general circulation, we are concentrating on focused area growth. In the selected areas (both commercial and residential) our sales force goes door to door and build up readers through thorough detailing of our product and a very small incentive offer. Our circulation numbers are extremely relevant for the advertisers' need. I feel circulation is all about understanding your readers and how long you can hold them as your loyal readers. Circulation is all about reader acquisition and content engagement.

SD: We see a lot of innovations in the newspapers today? How you feel about it?

DM: Innovations are must and only through innovations newspapers can sustain their numbers. The department ‘circulation’ in earlier days was perceived only as a department of distribution. With the passage of time, the profile of the department evolved into a department of sales, planning, and market development. Now the sales force not only looks at sales growth, but also constantly works on increasing the reader base by creating new market or expanding the existing market. For this, the team is reaching out to individual reader/ non reader and trying to convert him/her to its reader. Now the circulation team (sales and development team) in most of the publication houses have their own event team to engage the readers with lot of BTL activities.

SD: Production quality is another important feature for newspapers, according to you how good is the production quality of ND in terms of newsprint, design, and printing as compared to other national dailies?

DM: Production quality, layout designing, newsprint are extremely important for the survival as well as growth of any newspaper besides content. In case of ND, we are very particular about production quality, that’s why we give 20 pages all colour profile with Sunday magazine (52 GSM in GNP) at the regular cover price.

SD: Youth’s reading habits are not very promising today, so what do you think will attract this segment. Are you planning some initiatives to increase this number?

DM: Traditional content does not interest youth much in the environment of internet and social media. We have to give content of their interest. We have started in this direction and on Mondays we have a special tabloid dedicated for youth looking at their need, their taste. As an initiative to understand them better, we have invited students from different colleges to share their views on vagaries of subjects with our content team. In fact, from time to time we involve the students in designing our content for the youth supplement Young March.

SD: According to you, what are the positive changes you want to see in the newspaper industry?

DM: I feel with the stiff competition from electronic media and internet, print media has to think out-of-the-box so that it stays afloat. With the kind of devaluation our Rupee is facing against US dollar, the newsprint cost is bound to go up in time to come. Looking at this situation, time has arrived that all the dailies, be it national or Hindi or vernacular, take a call at increasing the cover price to at least Rs 5.00 all days so that production cost is covered through price. In the name of promoting circulation, no newspaper should offer cover price discount or subscription discount. The competition should be healthy by offering better content and reader engagement activities.

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