Kerala media outlets brace for price war

TRIVANDRUM — The price war fuelled by major newspapers in the metros has entered the southern Indian state of Kerala with the Times Group set to hit the newsstands in the Sate on February 1.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Sun 29 Jan 2012, 10:23 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:27 AM

The group, which has been trying to make a foray into the 100 per cent literate Kerala since the late 1980s, has finally made it possible in collaboration with Mathrubhumi, the second largest Malayalam daily.

The Times of India (TOI) is trying to woo subscribers through a package deal, offering the paper along with Mathrubhumi, at a combined price of Rs6. Out of this Rs4 will go to Mathrubhumi and Rs2 to the Times Group.

Although TOI alone will cost Rs4, which is the standard price of both English and vernacular newspapers in the state, existing newspapers have started reviewing their price to meet the challenge.

The Deccan Chronicle, which entered Kerala in August 2011, has already reduced its price from Rs2.5 a copy to Rs2.

The Hindu, which has already established its presence in the state, on the other hand, has sought to take on the new entrant by launching an innovative ad blitzkrieg.

The daily, which is now published from Trivandrum and Cochin, has planned to launch another edition from Calicut as an additional measure to meet the competition.

The existing newspapers are expecting a tough competition from TOI as it will have the well-established infrastructure of Mathrubhumi not only in the sales but also editorial sphere.

The daily hopes to reach out to every reader using the 11,000-strong agents.

The Times Group, which made an abortive attempt to enter the state by taking over the Mathrubhumi, will be hitting the state with a record nine editions (Malappuram, Calicut, Palghat, Trichur, Cochin, Kottayam, Aleppey, Quilon and Trivandrum).

The TOI made the attempt to bring Mathrubhumi under its fold by acquiring 20 per cent share in the newspaper, leading to a big uproar.

A massive campaign against the bid from all quarters forced the Times group to sell the shares to M P Veerendra Kumar, who now holds majority stake in the company.

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