Hindu expands brand by launching regional-language newspaper

By Bharath Ganapathi

The Hindu, south India’s most widely read English daily, has maintained this leadership position in the face of heavy competition in the English print media market for many decades.

The newspaper’s reputation for authenticity and credibility, as well as its award-winning team of journalists, has earned the trust of millions of loyal readers during the past 136 years. 

The ever-growing market for regional language newspapers in India — both in terms of circulation and ad revenue — presented a clear opportunity for a brand like The Hindu to launch a publication in the Tamil language.

Preliminary focus groups and market research with readers of other Tamil dailies showed that there was a strong need for a Tamil newspaper that had The Hindu’s values. They also said they would like to see a publication like The Hindu launch in a regional language. 

Armed with this overwhelmingly positive research, we put together an editorial team of 150 people for The Hindu in Tamil, headed by an editor with more than 25 years of experience on a leading Tamil language magazine. 

The decision to name the brand “The Hindu” (in Tamil) was made to capitalise on the equity that the mother brand had built over the course of a century.

The editorial mandate was very simple: To deliver the same quality of journalism that has been delivered in the English language for 136 years. The product design was done with this mandate in mind.   

We then embarked upon an ambitious 360-degree marketing campaign titled “The World Comes Alive in Tamil with The Hindu.” The campaign’s objective was to generate buzz around launch and drive subscription.

The campaign focused on the availability of a wholesome newspaper that covered national and international news alongside entertainment and features with the credibility and authenticity that every reader should be able to take for granted.

It was therefore still The Hindu, a brand they loved and trusted, but in their mother tongue. 

A 12-day teaser to the launch was created to keep interest levels high and generate subscription enquiries ahead of the launch. This was viewed as a lofty goal by industry analysts, especially because of the presence of well-entrenched players in the Tamil market. 

However, this goal was achieved following an extensive campaign that included radio, outdoor, social media, print, and television spots. The requests for subscriptions preceding the launch through SMS touched over 15,000 in as little as two months. We also launched the Web site on the first day.

Further, the official Facebook page of The Hindu Tamil acquired 100,000 likes in a mere four months from the launch date (and it now has more than half a million likes). There was also significant traction that could be seen in the number of shares and discussion threads on the news items that were posted on the page. 

The long months of preparation, research, planning, and marketing culminated in this success. In a short time, The Hindu Tamil had gone from being the new kid on the block to a force to reckon with both as an editorial product as well as an audience delivery tool for marketers.

About Bharath Ganapathi

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