Campaign India Team
May 05, 2010

Anant’s blog: The Hindustan Times story

The IRS Q1 2010 numbers are out, and all the winners and many of the losers will no doubt demystify things for us through advertisements and press releases.First, I’m delighted that we will see the numbers once every quarter rather than twice a year. Second, I’m delighted that the numbers have come in as early as early May. Well done, Hansa and MRUC.There are many stories in the numbers, but for me, a few stand out.

Anant’s blog: The Hindustan Times story

The IRS Q1 2010 numbers are out, and all the winners and many of the losers will no doubt demystify things for us through advertisements and press releases.

First, I’m delighted that we will see the numbers once every quarter rather than twice a year. Second, I’m delighted that the numbers have come in as early as early May. Well done, Hansa and MRUC.

There are many stories in the numbers, but for me, a few stand out.

The biggest story is the Hindustan Times Mumbai story. At a time when interest in the category itself is flagging, HT Mumbai shows a gain of 35,000 readers – when The Times of India shows a decline.

The Times of India’s decline is negligible and the gap between them and HT is huge, so that shouldn’t concern them too much.

What is of interest, though, is the fact that Hindustan Times solus readership has gone up by 18%.

In an era of cheap newspapers, selling a competent newspaper is not the most difficult task in the world. Your paper could be the second paper in the household, the third – even the 6th, if the house is one like mine.

But to be the only newspaper in the household is a big, big victory – and that’s a detail that should have the boffins in BCCL scurrying for cover.

But HT’s  performance in Mumbai is not something that surprised me – and it shouldn’t have surprised Times of India either.

In September last year, when The Times of India Crest edition was launched, I wrote, "That, after the repackaging (both in content and in form), The Hindustan Times is making significant inroads into the Mumbai market, becoming the second newspaper in many households and becoming the only newspaper in some. That’s dangerous for the ToI. I have no data to support this statement, I see the ‘signs’ around me. More of my friends buy HT now than six months ago, more conversations about HT stories than earlier, etc."

The Hindustan Times story – especially the solus one – has another lesson. While many of the incumbents and the new entrants focus on distribution clout as the winning strategy, HT ignored this and focused on the old adage in the newspaper business – content is king.

Source:
Campaign India

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