Rajasthan Patrika successfully expands into region with untapped readership potential

Driving through the forested hills, outskirts, and tribal villages of mineral-rich Chhattisgarh, you are certain to hear and notice many disparate and opposite things: the evidence of decades-old insurgency and the billboards advertising mining corporations; the beauty of nature and the plundered forests and mineral wealth; the deafening silence and the silent uprisings.

There is an interesting India waiting to be discovered, in hinterlands, forests, towns, cities, even in ruins of Chhattisgarh’s history, which beckon India to come and experience these chapters.

The state though doesn’t draw a very rosy picture in general conversations. Talk about Chhattisgarh, especially the Bastar region, and the mind conjures up images of blood-smeared bodies, tribal folks, rebellions, insurgency, salwa judum, etc.

This is, indeed, sad and unfair, as the state bulges with immense tourist and business potential.

It’s obvious that people don’t know enough about this region. Despite occupying huge chunks of India’s land area, the region is recognised only when huge massacres make headlines globally.

Even after 65 years of India’s independence, the tribal region of Bastar in Chhattisgarh had no voice in the media. The region, sometimes referred as “India’s Outland,” has remained marginalised — ignored and abandoned. It seems the distance has literally and figuratively remained too far to cover until now.

Patrika began its operations in Chhattisgarh (which formally became a state just 13 years ago) on September 19, 2010. The title is emerging as fastest-growing newspaper with four editions at present, including the Jagdalpur edition. It has already met success in Raipur, Bilaspur, Bhilai, Raigarh, Korba, Rajanand, and other regions of Chhattisgarh.

In less than three years, Patrika has gained readers’ and advertisers’ trust, gaining a foothold in this region.

Chhattisgarh is largely an untapped region for media companies. The gap in the market is with those who can read Hindi but are not reading any Hindi daily newspaper due to insufficient media penetration. Filling this gap could be the harbinger of what good lies ahead.

Comparing two literate Hindi markets, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, in Rajasthan, 42% read a Hindi daily. But in Chattisgarh, only 20% read a Hindi daily newspaper. In urban Rajasthan, 60% read a Hindi daily, while in Chhattisgarh only 40% read a Hindi daily.

The gap is evident even in towns with populations of more than one million people. Available media resources until last year were not sufficient to address the media requirement of even the top cities, which account for 50% to 60% business from the state, and are key growth drivers.

It is this gap that Patrika Group would bridge by reaching new readers. The growth of any market depends on the infrastructure and is backed by media penetration in that market.

Patrika would fill the much needed gap in the state. Improved print reach will improve the market potential value (MPV) of Chhattisgarh.

For the advertisers, it’s a unique opportunity. The market is, until now, unexplored. The opportunity is a rare one, and advertisers would be smart to ride along with the success of increased penetration.

Rajasthan Patrika is only national daily newspaper with a live edition from Jagdalpur (Baster) under the brand name of Patrika. The Jagdalpur edition covers seven districts in the Bastar region namely, Kanker, Kondagaon, Bastar/Jagdalpur, Narayanpur, Bijapur, Dantewada and Sukuma.

The agenda is to give voice to the region, connect it to the mainstream India, explore the unexplored reserves for larger benefit of society, and encourage potential dialogues — all so the issues of locals could be heard and acted upon in the right spirit.

The area may be the richest in terms of resources, but sadly is most exploited and neglected. Circulating the newspaper in the early morning hours is itself a big challenge in this area.

Within a week of its launch, Patrika began to engage the readers, straddling a spectrum of news, context, analysis, insight, and perspective.

As Patrika is the only national newspaper with live edition, the people have welcomed us from day one as they received newspaper in the early morning — unlike other newspapers that arrive at 10 a.m. This one fact actually changed the reading habits of the local people.

The launch of Patrika in Chhattisgarh has been well received by the locals. As per ADEX in the second quarter of 2013, the overall market share of Patrika in Chhattisgarh is 42.75%.  

About Arvind Kalia and staff

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