The Hindu, the Chennai-headquartered broadsheet, is launching a Mumbai edition, a first in its 137-year history. The daily has hired Sachin Kalbag, currently editor of Mumbai tabloid MidDay, as the resident editor in the city.
“Yes, we are launching a Mumbai edition end of November. It will be a national edition, with a similar structure as the Delhi edition," said The Hindu editor Malini Parthasarathy, "It will have much more lifestyle and entertainment content targeted at the younger readers, but we are not trying to be a hyper-local newspaper in Mumbai.”
But why now, when the paper has never had an edition in India's commercial capital?
“It’s a decision led by the needs of our readers as well as advertisers. We already have a bureau there and a small readership. The Hindu Businessline has an edition there. We are adding some senior editorial staff and a desk. I think in a few years it can be a very significant edition, rivalling Delhi,” she added.
Kalbag, who has been the editor of MidDay since 2011, will move next month and a search for a replacement has begun at the Dainik Jagran Group-owned daily.
In Mumbai, The Hindu will compete for readers of English dailies with The Times of India, Hindustan Times, DNA, The Indian Express, Asian Age, Mumbai Mirror and Mid Day, apart from smaller papers such as the Free Press Daily and The Afternoon Despatch and Courier.
Mumbai is India’s largest advertising market. It is also a thoroughly competitive and saturated newspaper market. Bennett Coleman and Company, whose titles, The Times of India, The Economic Times and Mumbai Mirror, accounts for a large chunk of market share, dominates it. (Disclosure: HuffPost India is published in association with The Times of India Group.)
Print advertising in India is a Rs16,875 crore industry, accounting for 34.5% of the total advertising market (Rs48,976 crore), according to GroupM estimates. Digital advertising is still less than 10% of the pie, although it is expected to grow rapidly with the proliferation of mobile devices and Internet usage.
“In India print is still the cash cow. Internet is growing but it is nowhere near what it has got to in Western economies. But we are very serious about the internet. We are starting a blog with external contributors. We are also moving towards an integrated newsroom,” Parthasarathy said.