Campaign India Team
Jan 03, 2013

‘Our objective is to lead and follow the youth simultaneously': inext COO and editor

Q&A with Alok Sanwal, chief operating officer and editor, inext, on the revamp, new content philosophy and more

‘Our objective is to lead and follow the youth simultaneously': inext COO and editor

What is the thought process behind revamping inext now?

inext is a young brand, it's about six years old. So as a bilingual newspaper that attracts the youth, it is more volatile and flexible in its content and style that is synonymous with the youth’s sensibilities and priorities. Much has changed both in terms of interactivity patterns and social engagement in the last five to six years, largely due to the strong emergence of social media. The idea was to introduce a new inext, which is closer to the youth inclination and expectations in the changed scenario. inext is now juicier, sleeker and smarter. Youth is restive, so is inext.

Will the re-branding see changes in content and design? If yes, what are these changes?

There are some significant changes. inext has a new dynamic logo, which reflects the dynamism and energy of youth and a new masthead. Besides this, four pages have been added to its weekend editions; two each for latest gadget updates and opinion pages. Also, the colour palette has been changed from nine colours to two, which renders it with smart green and orange hues. The news content will fall under the orange colour, while the non-news will be under green. This has made the content packaging more reader-friendly. Also, new editorial fixtures have been added to enhance reader engagement.

What is the content philosophy the brand will follow from now on?

The brand is now more youthful. We continue to target the 15 to 35 age group which is more dynamic and responsive. The content has always been to interest the youth. Our objective is to lead and follow the youth at the same time. Continual innovations in content and design would be our priority, to give our readers top notch, unique content, which they are unlikely to find elsewhere.

Is there a digital version of inext too? What are the specific changes that have been made on the digital version?

inext had launched its digital version one year back - inextlive.com, which is basically a youth infotainment junction. It carries all the features that youngsters look for today, from Bollywood to sports, fashion, lifestyle, education, career etc. We also do city-bytes, along with breaking news and unique videos. It has always been a major catalyst for the brand’s reader engagement initiatives. The portal now has an enhanced visual appeal and is more user-friendly. More emphasis is being laid on the content, especially multimedia from mini-metros. There are more exclusive city videos. An additional feature of live chat with inext team has also been incorporated.

What are the marketing initiatives undertaken to create awareness around the revamp?

We have undertaken an integrated campaign to create a buzz around the re-launch. Extensive advertising is being done in national trade media (digital and print), print advertising in inext cities, supported by outdoor campaigns. Then we had radio promotions. New look mailers like specially designed inext diaries and calendars were distributed to key stakeholders. As an innovation, inext’s new logo was unveiled at select new year parties on 31 December to welcome the new year with a new inext.

Has the target audience changed with the revamp?

No. The target audience hasn't changed. We continue to target the 15 to 35 age group readers.

What are the challenges you face as a bilingual paper?

inext remains the only bilingual tabloid in the country. The idea behind this unusual format was to communicate with youth in their own language, the language they are comfortable in. A mix of Hindi and English is ideal for today’s urban, suave and tech-savvy youth. The editorial challenge has been to maintain a workable mix of languages that is both easy and appealing. Another big challenge is to be inclusive and unique at the same time. That is to say... how can we make a peculiar story to be identifiable as ‘inext news’, separated from the innuendo of stories around? This branding of news is one of the profound workable area s for us.

What is the kind of growth you foresee for inext as a bilingual paper in the next year or so?

We stand at an approximate readership of two million. With this re-launch, we’re confident to gain more ground in terms of circulation, readership and revenues. In the year ahead, we’re planning to further increase our client base. We’re also keen on adding more digital platforms to brand inext for more penetration and reach amongst both readers and advertisers. Plans for spreading wings across other cities are also underway.

How is the paper placed in terms of competition in the industry?

Since inext is the only bilingual tabloid of the country, there is not much competition in this genre, which is largely untapped by other publications till date. We are comfortably placed in the northern Hindi speaking belt across the mini-metros. Our challenge is to compete with the broadsheet newspapers since there is a significant overlap in readership in the region. Though we enjoy the first mover’s advantage, we still need to improvise continuously to remain ahead.

What’s the ad-edit ratio that is typically followed by inext?

We operate at 28:72 ad-edit ratio.

How was the year 2012 from a point of view of advertising revenue?

2012 was very good in the sense that we have grown by 52 per cent in advertising revenue (in cities we’re present in). We have locally done lot of innovative advertising and we can confidently say now that our clients like to stay with us year-on-year.

Source:
Campaign India

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