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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Monday, October 31, 2005

ToI set to launch neighbourhood newspaper in Chennai

ToI is expected to launch its Chennai edition next year and it is now testing the waters with the launch of a ‘free’ neighbourhood newspaper in Anna Nagar in Chennai. Neighbourhood ‘free’ newspapers like Anna Nagar Times, Mylapore Times, Adyar Times & Mambalam Times have been able to make a mark because of the localized content (coverage of local events) and the neighbourhood classifieds. I’m not sure whether The Hindu will also eye for a share in this pie.

The Times of India Group is venturing into the free neighborhood newspaper segment with ‘Times Neighborhood’, a weekly to be launched in Anna Nagar, Chennai. The stand-alone publication will spread to other areas in Chennai soon, after gauging the response to its Anna Nagar offering. The 12-page gloss-covered ‘local’ will hit 40,000 residents of Anna Nagar on Saturday.

The Economic Times has a supplement called ‘Madras Plus’, which is also a focused retail vehicle for Chennai. ‘Times Neighborhood’ will be different in that it will be ‘hyper-localized’ in its content, and would attempt to stand out in the clutter of the many existing neighborhood newspapers, added Thariyan.

According to sources, though the advertising revenue from Chennai’s retail segment in print is at around Rs. 100 crore per year, this is for the mainlines alone. There exist several other neighborhood publications, some of which are beginning to figure increasingly on retail advertisers’ media plans. Some planners peg the revenues of this genre at Rs. 10 crore, and others at Rs. 8-16 crore. Most industry observers agree that this is increasing by the day. An established neighborhood newspaper in Anna Nagar, ‘Anna Nagar Times’, is estimated to have a circulation of over 50,000 copies.


  • This is a significant development; this business of neighbourhood focus. Google also believes the future lies in networking neighbourhoods and building more local communities. The brand 'TOI' is on the right track, I think. The future of brands lies in building communities around them. Blah! What a load of B-school crap. What to do, try as much, I can't seem to get away from it. cheers and thanks for tolerating my two-bits.

    By Blogger Übermaniam, at 9:42 AM  

  • Actually, Hindu has an existing neighbourhood tabloid - called the Hindu Downtown. full-colour keeps the advertisers happy. I hear it is doing good too

    By Blogger Ravages, at 7:40 PM  

  • @Daily Unusual,
    ToI is known more for Page 3 content....not sure how they will attack the neighbourhood segment

    I wasn't aware of The Hindu Downtown. I don't think it is avlbl online. Will check it out when I'm there next time.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 10:18 AM  

  • When DNA is setting fire to ToI in Mumbai now after Mid-Day rattled it some years ago, ToI jut could not resist making a hash of its new idea - to run neighbourhood newspapers.

    Knowing well ToI's brand of razle-dazzle journalism, it fell flat in its early issue sof the local paper in Anna nagar by snaring in a a well known sporst personality who had nothing to do with Anna Nagar and putting her on the cover!

    Inside, theres a lot of juicy junk that has no relevance to what it set out to be.

    Now it has teenyboppers on its rolls to pep up its local coverage. Kids whose journalism is suspect.

    ToI hopes that teenboppers on its cover and spiced up info inside will help them tap the local retail market.

    It failed.

    It has much of Rs.800cr annually to burn here and there.

    As far as The Hindu's Down town is concerned, theres little local journalism in it. Downtown was created to tap a local retail market. So many store owners are happy that they get a good deal for their ads.
    Ask the readers though and they will shove the pullout under their cot!

    Both leading newspapers of India are pretenders.
    They simply do not beleive in community journalism.
    They have responded to papers that have made a huge impact in Chennai, possibly the only city which has nurtured such small papers in Urban India.

    By Blogger Vincent D' Souza, at 12:49 AM  

  • Vincent is right to say that mainstream India print media have been been a flop. They do not understand local/community/neighbourhood journalism. They started in Powai in Oct 2012 but ran away in just two shoddy issues.

    They are attempting to launch in areas already developed by small publication in terms of ad revenue built up.

    Now, they bring in big jargons like hyper-local, neighbourhood focus, building communities etc.

    Why these bums dont leave it to the locals to manage this territory. The hired teeny-bloopers are not just good.

    In their attempt to milk that last mile ad revenue they are marking local areas with their mights like dogs piss and mark their territory.

    Chennai has a long tradition of these home nurtured local newspapers and it will thwart these attempts of ToI.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 AM  

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