ABP Pvt. Ltd. is a large multi-media group based in Calcutta, the capital of the state West Bengal in Eastern India. Recently, ABP introduced an innovation in our flagship brand, Anandabazar Patrika, a daily newspaper established in 1922 and written in Bengali, which is both the local and the sixth most-spoken language globally.

But readers in West Bengal’s outlying districts often feel that newspapers are “too metro-oriented,” since regional newspapers typically do not address the local problems that plague everyday life at a district level in West Bengal.

In response to this concern, we created our “Paper Within the Paper” concept: a six-page, hyperlocal newspaper for each district that is contained within the main newspaper and a complementary app enabled with Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

APB layers hyperlocal content with relevant news from nearby regions and national news for a unique blend of content in each region.
APB layers hyperlocal content with relevant news from nearby regions and national news for a unique blend of content in each region.

Each district gets an exact but hyperlocal replica of the main newspaper, with its own hyperlocal pages: front page, sports, classifieds, post edit, and features. For example, Bardhaman-Kalna-Katowa is the edition for the East Bardhaman district, and Durgapur-Asansol-Ranigunj is the edition for the West Bardhaman district, and so on.

Each district’s Paper Within the Paper includes:

  • Page 1: Customised masthead (e.g., Bardhaman-Kalna-Katowa written over Anandabazar Patrika masthead), lead story with the biggest news from the specific districts, district snippets and weather.

  • Page 2: Contacts for local administrative/municipal utilities offices, emergency services, hyperlocal reader engagement (quizzes, citizen journalism, opinion polls), and a local classifieds section.

  • Page 3: News and snippets on tier-two towns in the districts.

  • Page 4: Features and supplement page with letters from local readers. Each day features a different topic, such as loca schools/colleges on Monday, art and culture on Tuesday, business on Wednesday, health on Thursday, agriculture on Friday, kids contributions on Saturday, and travel on Sunday.

  • Page 5: News from relevant adjoining districts.

  • Page 6: Local sports, including district-level championships, articles on emerging sports talent, and other back-page inventory.

The hyperlocal app provides additional functionality that allows readers to interact with the content they read in print by scanning pictures, answering surveys, and other interaction via mobile device.
The hyperlocal app provides additional functionality that allows readers to interact with the content they read in print by scanning pictures, answering surveys, and other interaction via mobile device.

The accompanying AR app integrates print and digital hyperlocal content, while facilitating reader engagement with four key features.

  • Videos: The biggest hit of the app, this feature takes readers by sheer surprise. They can use their mobile device to scan a picture in the print newspaper and immediately watch the video linked to the picture. They can then like or share the video or leave comments or suggestions.

  • Quiz contests and opinion polls: Through the app, readers can respond to polls and quizzes in the print newspaper. The names of winners appear in the print edition.

  • Citizen journalism: Readers can submit articles about local issues with relevant pictures. The chosen articles are published in Paper Within the Paper.

  • Promotion of special offers: App users receive upcoming special offers, including local discounts and special content.

Paper Within the Paper has had a significant impact on copy sales. In a context in which newspaper sales are declining around 3% per year, Anandabazar Patrika has seen a 6% upward swing in its single-copy sales within just four months. App engagement has also been encouraging with 91,000 downloads, 12,500 responses through opinion polls, and more than 11,000 leads.