During the country-wide lockdown in India, Vijay Karnataka, the most read daily in the state of Karnataka, launched a special tabloid to help readers stay safe from COVID-19.
Launched on April, 19 2020, the VK Corona Guide reached more than half a million homes in Karnataka. In the initial days of the lockdown, VK curated content and campaigns across various issues, including positive news on the front page, the fact that newspapers are safe and do not host the virus, vendors risking their lives are “superheroes,” #NoLockdown for family time, and more.
While delivering editorial content on the pandemic every day, the team decided to deliver a special issue to help readers answer their queries and provide guidance from expert physicians to develop immunity against the fatal disease. We decided to create a guide that empowered Kannadigas when they needed information in their native language.
Content was planned to accommodate the FAQs about how to protect oneself from catching the virus, how to detect the symptoms of the sickness, and curative measures to take. The guide included helpline numbers and do’s and don’ts in social places along with content on how life would be after the pandemic, how to use social spaces after the lockdown, #MaskIndia, job scenes, and education after the crisis.
Messages from the chief minister, health minister, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) commissioner, mayor, and police commissioner were included. The VK Corona Guide was made in 11 editions. It was distributed across 30 districts of Karnataka with pagination between 16 to 32 pages based on a healthy ad/edit ratio.
A total of 246 advertisers published their ads to reach readers. Advertisements from municipal corporations, educational and financial institutions, the political fraternity, and brands in the fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare, automobile, real estate, retail, IT-hardware, security, and IT maintenance sectors were part of the special edition.
Marketing and distribution summary
Vijay Karnataka published a note to readers and the distribution channel about the special edition two days before it launched in the market. This ensured readers would not miss the copy on the given day and the channel team would be able to collect an additional cover price.
A day before the launch, the VK team shared the copies with the chief minister of Karnataka, health minister of state, deputy chief minister (who is also a doctor by profession), senior medical practitioners, and religious leaders to spread the word among the people to ensure they read the special edition.
We distributed 430,000 copies of the VK Corona Guide tabloid to regular VK subscribers’ homes at an additional cover price of US$.03. The distribution team garnered 700,000 sponsored copies, which were inserted in competition copies, and a few were distributed in areas as desired by sponsors. The distribution teams ensured they wore protective gear like masks and gloves while distributing the newspapers.
During the time of the lockdown due to the pandemic, Vijay Karnataka demonstrated “impossible is nothing” and garnered additional revenues worth US$46,000, including ads and circulation. VK thus showcased the essence of the workflow to publish this unique product during times of remote working.
Through cross-functional teamwork, Vijay Karnataka leveraged most typical strengths of a leading news media company: credibility, wide reach amongst affluent homes, social impact, and aspiration. Vijay Karnataka stood true to the philosophy of “leader guards the reader.”
Banner photo courtesy of Jason Goh from Pixabay.