Kasturi and Sons Ltd, the publisher of The Hindu English daily, will launch a Tamil newspaper on 16 September that is most likely to carry the same name.
The Chennai-based publisher on Wednesday carried a teaser advertisement in The Hindu and financial daily The Hindu Business Line stating Ullagam Uyir Perum Ungal Mozhiyil in Tamil. Roughly translated, it means the universe will come to life in your language.
“Yes, nine out of 10 chances are that we will name the Tamil newspaper The Hindu,” said Arun Anant, chief executive of Kasturi and Sons. There is one more name which is being considered, he said.
The 135-year-old publisher’s first foray into Tamil newspapers comes at time when the media companies in India are slashing jobs as companies have cut spending on advertisements and costs of imported newsprint have risen because of a weakening rupee. Kasturi and Sons’ Tamil newspaper will compete with Dina Thanthi, the largest selling Tamil daily; Dinakaran, owned by the Sun group’s Kalanithi Maran; and Dinamalar.
The company had in July hired K. Asokan, former editorof Tamil weekly magazine Ananda Vikatan, as editor of the proposed newspaper.
Anant said that the price of imported newsprint and the rupee depreciation are challenges that newspapers are facing.
Rather than having a new brand for its latest launch going with the brand like The Hindu that is over a century-old will be advantageous, said A.S Raghunath, an independent print media consultant. “Although it is not a new phenomenon as The Times of India uses English name like Lucknow Times for its Hindi newspaper as well,” Raghunath said.
The launch of the Tamil newspaper involved only working capital, he said, and added that the company is familiar with the business dynamics in these markets.
Rival publishers say they are closely studying the impact of the launch of the new newspaper.
“We are closely watching their every step. They are bundling a six month subscription package at about Rs.333 which would work out to be Rs.1.85,” said Vijay Bobby, general manager, marketing, at Dinakaran. Currently, local language newspapers are sold at Rs.3 and Rs.4.
“This is a offer price on subscription and they cannot sustain in the long run. However at newsstands, the cover price is expected to be at Rs.3.50 or Rs.4,” he added.
“I don’t think Dina Thanthi, Dinamalar or us will carry the advertisement of the newspaper so most probably they will have a door-to-door campaign,” said Bobby.
Asked whether Dinakaran will change its strategy, Bobby said we will study the market for three to six months and then decide on a course of action.
HT Media Ltd, publisher of Mint and Hindustan Times, competes with products of Kasturi and Sons in different markets.