SST Media, the company that separated from the Xenitis Group, is all set to launch a Bengali daily in West Bengal, the state’s eighth.
Titled Ek Din, the broadsheet will debut on 21 February 2007. “The paper is targeted at the youth of Bengal. It will be entertainment-based but, at the same time, will not lose the seriousness of important issues,” Tathagata Dutta, chairman and managing director-SST Media, said in an interview to Mint.
Ek Din will have to compete with Ananda Bazar Patrika, Pratidin, Bartaman, Sangbad Pratidin, Yugantar, Statesman Bengali and Ganashakti.
According to the National Readership Survey (NRS) 2006, Ananda Bazar Patrika is the leading newspaper in Bengal, with a circulation of 7,295,000. SST Media, which plans to sell 50,000 copies of Ek Din initially, has roped in a former editor of Ananda Bazar Patrika, Suman Chattopadhyay, as its editor.
The newspaper will be printed in north and south Bengal, apart from Kolkata, and will be available throughout the state.
As a part of the marketing strategy, Dutta said SST Media would offer some free space to advertisers but did not give further details.
“Both nationally and regionally, there is room for a new player,” said Chirantan Chandran, general manager of Mindshare, a global media company. “However, any new paper has to be realistic in fixing advertising rates, and may not be able to charge the same rates as the leader,” he added.
West Bengal’s literacy rate is about 69%, very close to the national average of 70%.
India, with half its population below 25 , is the second largest market for newspapers after China.
Intense competition among newspapers in India has led to rates as low as Rs1 per copy or even lower when readers buy two newspapers from the same publisher.
Dutta and Santanu Ghosh, founders of the Xenitis Group, made their money selling personal computers priced below Rs10,000.
Dutta and Santanu Ghosh, founders of the Xenitis Group, made their money selling personal computers priced below Rs10,000. As Mint reported earlier, Xenitis has split, with Dutta taking over the media business.