Mid-day, the tabloid that expanded from Mumbai to Pune, Delhi and Bengaluru in its glory days, shifted from its core positioning as an afternoon daily targeted at urban mobile professionals to becoming a morning tabloid, restricted to its home base of Mumbai. It is now back with two editions in Mumbai from 29 August 2016. The evening edition, available from 4 pm, also priced at Rs 3, is expected to bolster ad revenues for the daily by fulfilling the role of being a reminder medium.
In January 2009, afaqs! reported that Mid-day had stopped its morning edition after three years. But at some point after that, it decided to publish only the morning edition. The group has since seen a takeover by Jagran Prakashan (2010), and much later, in March 2016, Sandeep Khosla was appointed CEO.
Speaking with Campaign India, Khosla said, "When we sat at the drawing board two months ago, we were very clear that we needed to make it relevant today - and go back to the values that built the brand when coming in during the afternoon and evening. The target is people going back home from work, including working professionals and traders."
He added, "Today, Mid-day does not attract a certain class of advertisers. In the good old days, Mid-day performed the role of a reminder medium and OTS (opportunity-to-see) multiplier. In a dipstick of advertisers and agencies (now), it became clear that in the evening, the paper became a huge reminder medium."
Unlike earlier days when the flow of news stops at 6 pm (or so) in the eveing, today, news supply remains abundant round the clock, noted the CEO.
Mid-day's morning edition claims to have a print run of 2,00,000 copies, while the 4pm edition has started off with 1,50,00 copies, according to Khosla. The feedback for day one has been 'extremely positive', according to him. The evening edition will only be printed Monday through Friday.
Asked about launching another print edition when the focus across industry has moved increasingly to digital, he said, "Our focus is not either-or. We have already launched a new mobile site. Now, Jagran resources are focused on developing the new web offering. In three months, it should be live."
For now, the target is to become comparable to the market leaders to remain relevant to advertisers. By next year, the ambition is to launch in cities with a metro facility, targeting the same urban, professional, commuting audience.
"Mid-day expanded to other cities with a tabloid in the afternoon when there was no metro (in those cities). A lot of cities have metros today," noted Khosla.
Meantime, synergies with Radio City are working in the daily's favour, on real estate, retail advertisers and the like, informed the CEO. In 15 days, the two media brands acquired by Jagran Prakashan will also occupy the same office premises.