The media market in Andhra Pradesh is heating up with Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy , 35, an entrepreneur with extensive interests in mining, power generation, construction, cement, all set for a major newspaper launch as early as February.
Reddy, who is the son of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, will be launching a Telugu daily, ‘Sakshi’ (which means witness), followed by a 24x7 television news channel, which, according to some media reports, will be branded Indira TV.
Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy
Sakshi will enter a crowded field of eight Telugu daily newspapers, including market leader Eenadu, as well as Andhra Jyothy, Vaartha, Andhra Prabha, Andhra Bhoomi, Vishalandhra, Prajasakthi and Surya.
In a rare chat, Reddy talked about why there is the need for a ninth Telugu newspaper and perceptions that Sakshi will be a vehicle for the ruling Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh. Edited excerpts:
What is the need for one more Telugu daily?
Most of the Telugu media, especially the newspapers, have become completely biased and one-sided and I think the readers are deprived of a credible and objective newspaper. There is a large vacuum, which we plan to fill with wholesome reporting. Editorial content is going to be reader-centric and original.
As a business proposition, media appears promising with high potential and scope for attractive returns.
Given the background of the promoters, is this going to be a pro-Congress daily?
Sakshi is coming up against biased media. We cannot afford to be one-sided.
We see a reader and not a Congress or other party reader. We firmly believe in the saying that ‘facts are sacred and comment is free.’
But, papers such as Eenadu and Andhra Jyothy are already well entrenched.
We have aggressive strategies to take on the existing, well-established newspapers. Obviously, I cannot reveal the exact strategies. But, broadly we will take on competition by offering the reader a completely different newspaper in terms of both print quality and clarity of news.
When is the launch date?
We are planning to launch the newspaper close to February-end.
How much investment is going into this venture?
I cannot give you an exact figure at this point of time as we expect investments to increase until the date of launch.
How will Sakshi be different?
Sakshi is going to be the first Telugu daily with all the pages in multi-colour, and the first Telugu daily to be designed by a well-known international designer. (US-based Mario Garcia, who also designed Mint).
I can only say that the Telugu reader is going to have a refreshing and pleasant experience.
How many editions will the newspaper have?
We will come out from 19 centres within Andra Pradesh and four editions from metros, such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. We are launching all editions at one go.
What would be the cover price?
Please wait and see.