THE HINDU CASE STUDY
The Hindu Newspaper:
The Hindu has been one of the oldest newspapers in India. Started in the year 1878, it commands a reputation as one of the most trusted newspapers of India. The newspaper, headquartered in Chennai has been the largest read English newspaper in South India. There are many “firsts” credited to The Hindu. Apart from imparting quality journalism, the premier publishing company has introduced path-breaking innovations in the newspaper business. Among the many achievements and contributions, following demands special mention: 1940: First to introduce color 1963: First to own fleet of aircraft for distribution 1969: First to adopt facsimile system of page transmission 1980: First to use computer aided photo composing 1986: First to use satellite for facsimile transmission 1994: First to adopt wholly computerized integration of text and graphics in page make-up and remote imaging 1995: First newspaper to go on Internet As per Indian Readership Survey (IRS), The Hindu is the third largest read English newspaper in India and the largest read English Newspaper in South India (comprising Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry). Since its inception, The Hindu has been known for its quality journalism and unbiased reporting. Articles printed in the pages of The Hindu are often considered as words written on stone. Precisely because of these, The Hindu is often recommended by premier MBA coaching institutes and is widely read by decision makers and civil service aspirants.
The Market Scenario:
The initial years of 90s when the country witnessed major policy changes regarding liberalization and opening up of the economy, the landscape of newspaper business too, like many other businesses, started changing significantly. Advertising revenue, which constitutes a lion's share of the total revenue which a newspaper commands, got a huge boost with consumerism getting new meaning in Indian society. This triggered major shifts in the way media business was functioning earlier. The different stake holders of the newspaper business- the readers, the advertisers, media planners, ad agencies all tried to embrace this change in their own ways. This made the scenario competitive for the players and they began to lookout for new opportunities for growth, seeking competitive edge. This in turn made newspaper companies to start new editions and explore new markets. So today, the Mumbai based Times of India also has an edition in Andhra Pradesh, Hindustan Times, the Delhi based giant has its operations even in the east India. Similarly The Hindu, the leader of South India also has edition in New Delhi. With increasing competition, all newspapers are vying for reader's attention. The fight for readership, breaking news syndrome has led to some fathomable change in news content. The traditional best practices and the gold standard of journalism have undergone significant change. There is a growing perception among readers that some of the biggest media companies don't quite adhere to the editorial ethics, which are considered pillar of newspaper offerings. Though TOI is the largest read English daily in India, there are a significant number of readers who express that the newspapers content is not what they would like to read. There is a sense of antipathy towards Times of India even among the readers of Times of India. For them Times of India stands for sensationalism, gossip news, Page 3 culture. The Hindu, on the other hand has always been revered as the trusted newspaper, setting up impeccable standards of journalism. The readers of The Hindu vouch for the news presented in the newspaper and their love for the newspaper can be gauged by the strong and positive perception that the brand enjoys in South India. It is this respect for the paper, which translates into huge readership and provides The Hindu no.1 newspaper status in South India.
The Hindu vs. TOI:
Times of India and The Hindu- both iconic brands have complete different brand promises and are competitors as businesses.
THE HINDU CASE STUDY
Times of India after its launch in 2008 in Chennai, has been trying to woo readers in a city where The Hindu has been the undisputed No. 1 for more than a century. In its promotion campaign in Oct 2011, TOI in Chennai urged its readers to “Wake up to TOI” and tried referring The Hindu as a “Boring” newspaper.
THE HINDU CASE STUDY
The TOI campaign, as experts in advertising and media industry commented, was a direct attack on The Hindu. Though The Hindu didn't react to this, The Hindu did its own brand campaign “ Stay ahead of times” in January - March 2012. The campaign by The Hindu was a huge success. While Television and outdoor media had their significant impact on the success of the campaign, it was the online platform, which saw a lot of buzz around the campaign. The campaign became a viral phenomenon on the day it was launched. Twitter, facebook and mediums like you tube saw huge number of positive comments for The Hindu..
Overall, the way campaign was received by the media community and interested readers, it reinforced some existing beliefs • The Hindu is a great brand with a lot of good will • The Hindu is the only newspaper, which escapes the feeling of angst against media in general, prevailing today.
THE HINDU CASE STUDY
Times of India, again reacted to this & came up with the following:
Readers' reactions on various social networking sites and blogs on this “war of words”:
• Nice reply .. or counter advert …… but seriously the concept is good but the questions are plain stupid …… The Hindu cannot be pitted directly against the TOI … the Hindu is far far superior in terms of quality and news content to the TOI and this is one paper in India or probably the only one which doesn't come with grammatical errors … however the TOI also covers all the news but more in a tabloid reporting format with loads of grammatical errors Gaurav. C. Ail JANUARY 27, 2012 AT 12:28 PM • times of india vs hindu....its like watching masala movie n a movie with substance...former may win at the box office, but latter stays with us Dhivahar Reddy February 3 at 11:02am • Times of India should change its name to Timepass of India Harish February 3, 2012 7:58 PM • Nice Analysis Between two papers but why this Kolaveri towards The Times of India da ??? too much hot VIMAL RAJ KANNAN February 3, 2012 9:01 PM • its not against TOI.... but my point is that when it comes to content the hindu beats TOI in all possible ways... TOI focuses too much on entertainment... the mixture is not right... Karthick S February 4, 2012 6:49 PM
THE HINDU CASE STUDY
• thanks for the compliments and yes, i accept that we should make the choice... people who want just entertainment can stick with TOI... people like me who buy newspaper to know about the current happenings should go with the hindu... Karthick S February 4, 2012 6:51 PM • Look...it is not that TOI does not print news. It does print news...but the way it prints the Page 3 stuff...it is not page 3 actually...it is allover the paper...Read an article in TOI and the same would be repeated twice or may be even thrice by the time you finish of the city edition, the monday times or whatever and the main paper. No virtue of journalism at all in TOI...it is only 'surviving' on sensationalism. freakineo 3 months ago.
The big questions?:
While the campaign of The Hindu was a great success, eliciting huge positive support for the product and the brand, it can make the management at The Hindu think the following: Has The Hindu brand actualized its true potential? Has The Hindu missed the bus by letting itself being seen as a South Indian paper? Can this immense brand appeal, which extends to geographies where The Hindu doesn't even circulate, be strengthened further? Considering that newspaper largely operates in the domain of information and knowledge, has The Hindu leveraged its brand appeal to the maximum? In times when newspaper as a medium is expected to face challenge from other mediums like internet, what responsibility The Hindu needs to shoulder as a power brand in the news and information category? Many readers and media experts have opined that The Hindu should launch in cities beyond south India. In Newspaper business - a capital-intensive business, opening up new editions look to be obvious development strategy, but may not be the best solution for the newspaper company. Since advertiser interest in the newspaper is the most crucial success ingredient for the newspapers editions, the newspaper has to significantly invest in building readership and in turn creating advertisers' interest.
Way Forward- The Business Opportunity/ Marketing Challenge:
Translating the immense brand value of The Hindu into business gains is the topmost priority for the management at The Hindu. The management at The Hindu also firmly believes in the core values of trust and credibility and in no way would compromise with them to seek business gains. Editorial standards, commitment towards social equality and knowledge are all part of he strong brand promise that The Hindu stands for.The Hindu management would be interested in understanding ways to formulate its marketing strategy to build on the business and also strengthen the brand appeal. Through the "Stay ahead of the Times" campaign, The Hindu showed that it had conviction in its core brand values. The campaign got current and potential readers to sit up and take notice, and now there is a need to reinforce The Hindu's strengths and take the brand to the next level. Going forward, ideas and business initiatives need to be explored to encourage first-time buyers to turn to The Hindu, while simultaneously reassuring existing readers that they have made the right decision.
What Will Success Look Like?:
More likeability for the brand among readers and advertisers .More Readership and brand loyalty which will, in turn, help in retaining the advertiser's interest in the newspaper
THE HINDU CASE STUDY
Ideas and Strategies to achieve the business and brand marketing objectives.
Business Constraints and Challenges:
• Being a highly capital intensive business, launching new editions is not easy, even though it may look obvious to increase market footprint. • High Media Costs: Campaign Ideas involving huge expenses may not be the best of ideas, considering the current market situation.