New Delhi: DB Corp. Ltd, the publisher of Dainik Bhaskar, India’s second largest newspaper by readership, is set to launch a Hindi business paper by the end of July, according to two company executives familiar with the development.
The executives said while a formal date for the launch hasn’t been fixed, the paper, to be called Bhaskar Business, will launch in all the strong markets of the Dainik Bhaskar and will likely have 10-15 editions. “Yes, we are looking at the business news market and we have firm plans to launch a product,” confirmed Rajiv Jaitly, president for sales and marketing at DB Corp.
Yatish Rajawat, a former associate editor at Business World magazine, has been named the editor of the project and is joining the company on Thursday. “Yes, I’m joining them...and the project will be headquartered in Delhi,” Rajawat said in a phone interview.
DB Corp.’s long-time rival, Jagran Prakashan Ltd, which publishes the Dainik Jagran, India’s largest read daily, announced in December an equal-stakes joint venture with Television Eighteen India Ltd to publish business dailies in regional languages. The chief executive of that joint venture, Bharat Kapadia, was formerly an executive director of the Bhaskar Group.
The Hindi business news market is seeing a lot of action with several new titles—dailies as well as magazines—being launched. Business Standard Ltd and Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd have launched versions of their English business dailies, Business Standard and The Economic Times, in Hindi and Gujarati. Amar Ujala Group, publisher of Hindi daily Amar Ujala, has also announced plans to launch a Hindi business daily by the end of 2008.
In English, there are five national stand-alone business dailies with a sixth starting operations in two southern cities earlier this month.
One of the executives said Bhaskar Business will likely launch in the parent’s key markets first to utilize production, distribution and advertising synergies.
DB Corp. had filed a draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India in December for issuing shares.
The group had placed an order worth Rs570 crore with German printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG. The presses will start delivery next week. The so-called “double width single circumference” KBA Prisma presses will enable the group to set up four printing lines, each of which will have a capacity of 670,000 broadsheets in a typicalprint cycle of three-four hours, according to R.D. Bhatnagar, chief technology officer,DB Corp.
The paper could very likely also have a Gujarati version as the group already publishes a leading Gujarati daily—Divya Bhaskar—and Gujarat is a big market for business news.
“Business news is the next growth avenue for large regional newspapers. There’s growth, there’s aspiration, and more people than ever are getting into equity markets and subscribing to IPOs (initial public offerings) from these (small) towns,” said Farokh Balsara, who heads the media practice at Ernst and Young.
Mint’s publisher, HT Media Ltd, also publishes Hindustan, which competes with Dainik Bhaskar.