The Hindu's publishers to bring out Tamil newspaper, English tabloid

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 06:21 hrs

Kasturi & Sons Ltd (KSL), which publishes The Hindu daily newspaper, got its board of directors' nod here on Wednesday to launch an English tabloid and a Tamil newspaper. The latter is expected in June.

N Ram, director and former editor-in-chief of the group, and Arun Anant, chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment.

A market survey has been done and the company is expecting a circulation within two years of 600,000 for the proposed Tamil newspaper, a 16-page daily plus a four-page supplement, 30 per cent of space meant for advertising and revenue of Rs 200 crore. The title and whether to form a subsidiary was yet to be decided, said an official.

As for the tabloid, "Initially, it will be in Chennai and Bangalore," said the official.

A member of the board said, "We have to still do some work and no firm business plan is ready. It will be an English morning paper, a very, very local one, more a neighbourhood concept."

In December 2012, Ram had said the company had approved a proposal by its professional team, headed by the chief executive, to explore the feasibility of starting a Tamil daily. The regional language newspaper market offered attractive opportunities and the company expected its senior professional team to continually explore the market, keep track of such opportunities and report its findings to the board, he added.

As reported earlier, a senior board member emphasised the goal of competing against Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, publisher of The Times of India, which was aggressively looking at regional markets, was a trigger to launch the Tamil daily.

BCCL is already present in the Hindi (Navbharat Times), Marathi (Maharashtra Times), Kannada (Vijay Karnataka) and Bengali (Ei Samay) newspaper segments.

According to a Deloitte estimate, Tamil Nadu accounts for 26 per cent of the overall regional print industry, estimated at Rs 2,970 crore in 2011-12. The overall market in the south is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 12 per cent, to Rs 4,630 crore by 2016. Sandip Biswas, director, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, said the circulation ratio in Tamil Nadu was 75:100; meaning, for every 75 English newspapers sold by a shop or agent, another 100 in Tamil are sold. The dominant players in the Tamil daily market are Daily Thanthi, the Sun TV-owned Dinakaran, Dinamalar and Dinamani.

Ninety per cent of the revenue for English dailies is accounted for by advertisements, with circulation contributing the rest. For Tamil dailies, 75 per cent of the revenue comes from advertisements and 25 per cent from circulation.

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