The Times of India finally launched the Chennai edition of the newspaper on April 14 with a Chennai focused product that has attempted very hard to appear as local as possible.
The front page features an “exclusive” piece by Chennai born chess Grand Master Viswanathan Anand, a survey of Chennai youth preferences and another survey on unsafe drinking water brands. Even an interview with Dhoni included a Chennai “connect”, with Dhoni saying ‘Rajnikanth is like God in Chennai. It would be great to have him on our team’. The business pages feature Chennai concerns and personalities, with a story on ITES tax sops, one on the Chennai airport modernization and an interview with TVS's Venu Srinivasan. A feature on business success stories links achievers to their roots, resulting in a full page feature on Tirunelveli.
The first day’s issue also covered their launch party and an “endorsement” from the Tamil Nadu chief minister. As the paper says “The who’s who of Tamil Nadu turned up at the long-awaited launch of the Chennai edition of The Times of India, including local administration minister M K Stalin, chief secretary L K Tripathy, DGP K P Jain and commissioner of police Nanchil Kumaran. But the loudest cheers were reserved for chief minister M Karunanidhi, who bowled over many with the sheer warmth of his welcome. A veteran journalist himself, the CM spoke with obvious passion and insight. “The Times of India has revolutionised the world of information and entertainment through innovative thinking... The very name ‘Times of India’ is one that has resonated across India. The name has always impressed us. Now, we are confident it will also be one of our favourite newspapers,” he said.”
The first day’s edition carries a fair amount of local advertising not just in the Chennai Times, and, commercially, the edition seems to have got off to a decent start.