Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mirror mirror on the wall

I waited for the second edition of Mumbai Mirror to hit the stands before venturing an opinion. Here it is.

The Mirror may scream itself hoarse 'we are not a tabloid, we are a compact' but the fact is it IS being benchmarked against Mid-day. In fact, Mid-day made a telling point in an ad it published on the back page yesterday which said: "This is the new idea for a paper the Times group has... We had it 25 years ago."

As for content. On day 1, both Mirror and Mid-day had the SAME story with a different headline: Ajitabh is writing a tell-all book on Amitabh.

On day 2, Mid-day - depending on which edition you pick up - has its usual tabloidy stories. The afternoon edition has a detailed graphical rendition of how a bullet entered a man's back and exited from the other side on page 1.

Mirror on the other hand has a 'serious' story on how insurance to policemen is being withdrawn because too many of them are popping off in accidents every year. I didn't think it had 'page 1 pull'.

What's the buzz
I asked a few young people what the buzz is on the Mirror and I quote:

"It has more to read than Mid-day... so good for train journeys. But Mid-day is Mid-day..."

"I picked it up today, just to see, but I am planning to stick to Mid-day".

"People are talking about Mirror because it has a lot of free stuff in it."


Yes, they do have 'lots of freebies' but considering that they have announced a 2 lakh print run, 150 free tickets at Fame Adlabs per day and 800 redemptions of iced tea at Tea Centre is not enough.

And all this can only help to get trials in the initial days - in the long run the paper has to attract loyal readers on its own steam. It also needs some kind of 'killer app'(Mid-day's growth, for many years, was fuelled by its page 3 'Mid-day Mate').

One positive point to note is that so far (except for the Planet M Rs 50 discount offer) there is no visible plugging of TOI group activities eg Radio Mirchi, Zoom, etc.

Analyse That
Personally, I think that:
a) It is amazing that Mirror has actually been launched in 3 months flat. Shows you that when the Times group wants to get something done it will not hesitate to pull out all the stops.

b) It is well designed - though I don't think the masthead is youthful enough. They could have gone for a sans serif font. (serif fonts are more old fashioned and fuddly duddy)

c) It is a good read - but not a compelling one. I don't know why - it just isn't.

Bottomline: Mid-day has a unique character which can be summed up in a single word: bindaas. Mirror, despite being competently and (quite interestingly) presented and produced will take time to develop a distinct attitude. The question is will it be given enough time - and space - to do that?

Watch this space tomorrow, for my view on that!

12 comments:

  1. The Great Mall Mania is on. As soon as a big retail mall like Big Bazaar opens in a locality, swarms of consumers swoop on it like locusts in a cane field. TheIndian consumerist soul repressed for decades finds its nirvana in the wide array of choices and freebies. This modern day Kumbh Mela goes beyond shopping and has significant social impact. Jayesh and I plan to dig deep into the mall culture and come up with our views and findings the whole of this week.
    So stay tuned all this week for this unique attempt at colloborative blogging at Booletpoint and at Chutneyspears

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  2. The real test for the Mumbai Mirror will be on Sunday, when Mid-Day rocks. Contentwise, the Sunday TOI is pathetic.

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  3. While on my way back home I chugged into the railway bookstall at borivali stn looking for 2 bucks of change in my wallet...just then the attendant picked out a copy of Mid-day and flung it out and folded for it for me...I was planning to check out the Mirror but then Mr.Attendant knows best...once a Mid-day fan always a Mid-day fan...yeah 'fan'!!!

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  4. Enhanced2:37 AM

    Mr. Shivaji-- its rahter annoying that you shamelesslly advertise your blog in the comments section here. Couldn't your brilliant mind come up with a better marketing plan to attract readers to your blog?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I actually liked the Mirror...have only read one issue yet but prefer it to Midday. Its content is more interesting..

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  6. I really haven't read MM but I still say, Mid-day is Mid-Day... :) Is there an online version of this Mirror paper?

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  7. As always we Indians dont like to change fast. So it will be difficult to cross mid-day for another 2 years more for the "i cant change attitude". Like colgte tooth paste- I cant change

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  8. Just checked your post abt blogging in Business world. Good to see that bloggins is slowly taking off.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Mid day is good in a sense that it was very first to come in such series and has got enough time to establish its name and worth. MM is quite new and honestly we should give it some time to see the review/feedback work upon that and come up with few changes and additions which is on-going process. In my opinion we just can't mark it 'PASS' or 'FAIL' with just 2 releases. As we still did not fail 'Jr. Bacchan' we so many releases :)

    Anyhow there are so many plunges in this media industry these days. What DNA is all about? I am eager to see its release. any opinion on this?

    Tripti

    ReplyDelete
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  11. Anonymous1:04 AM

    Mirror is much better and informative than mid-day.
    Only thing people buy mid-day is for jobs nothing much.

    ReplyDelete
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