The financial media space is turning vernacular with a vengeance. A recent spate of launches have seen English business daily The Economic Times launch its Hindi edition (it launched a Gujarati edition earlier) and Business Standard launch Hindi and Gujarati editions this year.
Not to be left behind, Network18 has tied up with the Dainik Jagran Prakashan Group to launch a Hindi business daily in the near future. Why are media houses rushing into the regional print media? According to Lintas Media Guide 2008, there are 551 million literate people in India. The reach of the print media, on the other hand, is only 315 million. That means there’s an untapped market of 236 million literate people. Says Ashish Bagga, CEO, Living Media India, which has had a string of vernacular editions of its flagship magazine, India Today: “This is long overdue. Increasing literacy and prosperity in some key states are some factors that aid this move.”
But are these new vernacular business dailies getting anywhere near the premium advertising rates that their English counterparts garner? Not really. Says Tarun Nigam, Executive Director, (India North & Pakistan), Starcom: “While these have got good response from advertisers, the ad rate difference between English and language dailies is unlikely to be bridged in a hurry.” Adds Bagga: “Low cover price and limited circulation are challenges as well.”
— Shamni Pande
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