Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mirror mirror II

Mid-morning I picked up both Mid-day and Mirror. Mid-day enlightened me on the following:
a) Riddhima (Rishi and Neetu Kapoor's daughter) is getting married to a businessman in Delhi
b) Hrithik Roshan's sister is to marry (her seocnd time) and settle in the US
c) Eight similarities between Ramgopal Varma's Deshu and Dawood (even tho he is crying himself hoarse that there is NO similarity)
d) That an outfit very similar to what Rani was seen wearing is available at Big Bazaar for Rs 300.

I also read Mirror, from I which remember the following:
a) Cigarette smoking to be banned in films and serials (also the lead story in the TOI)
b) Something about cheap air tickets to Goa being unavailable (I beg to differ because I have bought SEVERAL cheap tickets.. and in fact am going to Goa by Spicejet later this week!)
c) Something about Manisha Koirala breaking up with her nth boyfriend
d) Something about heroes who look silly after hair straightening. This was good - esp the quip abt Ashmit Patel looking like Posh Spice with a beard.

Net: net Mid-day was more entertaining - and gave some new gossip. As many of us have already read a broadsheet in the morning I think what we want is something 'timepass' at lunchtime. Mirror is what you can call a 'good' paper but I am not sure what need it satisfies.

The Strategy
The need DNA and HT are addressing is readers and advertisers wanting 'an alternative to TOI'. With Mirror, TOI is following the 'cannibalisation' theory ie if we must lose readers let's lose them to a second paper of our own.

But - you tell me - can an 'alternative' from the SAME publishing house ever be perceived as a REAL alternative?

So although Mirror can theoretically be an alternative to a morning broadsheet it is in fact an alternative to Mid-day. And that is fair enough. The 'pick me up paper' market that Mid-day is addressing has no real competitor (Afternoon is the only choice and it's a weak rival)

To combat Mid-day, Mirror had to be the opposite of Mid-day. Like 7 Up was the "uncola", Mirror is the 'untabloid'.

Great. But the problem like I said - do you want great and serious content to read in the train or with ur afternoon cuppa? Maybe during market research people said 'yes' because they feel cheap to admit they actually just like reading Marjorie Orr, Hit-list and a quick flip-thru the rest of their tabloid paper.

Given this, in a short time Mirror may well decide to swing to the OTHER extreme and become more tabloid than Mid day itself. Which looks tough (would they have published those grainy pics of the Shahid-Kareena lip-lock- what if Kareena boycotted the Filmfare awards?)

Aage aage hota hai kya...
Large advertisers, for now, have chosen to wait and watch. Mirror had lots of classifieds and 'best wishes' ads from small agencies on day 1. But the absence of support from large media buying houses like Mindshare etc which release ads for major MNCs is quite evident even into day 3.

Chalo, hum log bhi wait and watch karte hain. Kya keh sakte hain - kuch bhi ho sakta. All's fair in love and newspaper wars!


  1. The tabloid segment is yet to mature in India while in the UK major dailies have launched tabloid versions (one reason being its easier to read in a train). However the master of tabloids was Eddie Clontz, editor of Weekly World News who died in 2004. Clontz was a firm believer that "truth should never interfere with a good story". So his newspaper made an art of false news on UFOs, aliens, hoax scientific inventions supported by quotes from imaginary persons and facts. The magazine reached its peak through articles like "Bat-Boy" and "Elvis is alive". As I have argued in my post at ChutneySpears, , it will be interesting to see how this concept catches on in places like India and who among Mid Day or Mirror first adopt this.

  2. In Scandanavia,UK and US there are large number of tabloids that are given free to readers, totally advertising supported. And a key part of their distribution strategy is to give it to metro train travellers and supermarket shoppers. I wonder if we will see something like that in Mumbai soon, given the pace of media wars here and the retailing revolution.

    Rashmi, you have a great blog in terms of coverage. And your article on blogs in Bworld was insightful. Havent read JAM for long time, used to read it during engg college days. Great work!!

  3. I think Mid-days last page on the Mirror-launch said it all...what the TOI people have coneptualised now ..Mid-day thought it years before!And point to be noted is that the Mirror can never be bindaas like Mid-day coz then the negative influence that might come with a controversy would roll over into Times other forays...Kareena case for example.Mid-day is therefore the king in the afternoon tabloid strings attached.

  4. I picked up a copy of Mumbai Mirror and it seems like a good read. I really wasn't an avid reader of mid-day (except the Sunday version which is quite good); so from that point of view, MM is alright with me.

  5. Hi, What is the price? is it available in chennai?

  6. Though Im not a Mumbaikar.I do visit the city frequently.Both MidDay and Times have got their own appeal.According to estimates around 40-50% readers are not english readers .So there is a english newspaper market that sees itself growing.Mumbai is a complete distribution story and whoever gets the above right will survive.I really want to observe the competition with HT and DNA entry.The end result surely would make a good B school Case study!!!!!!!!!

  7. Anonymous2:20 AM

    what are you tryin to say, either i am too simplistic and do not understand what you mean or you are an idiot. you decide.

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