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Print industry in the interior India is not so well organised and has little access to quality content: Jwalant Swaroop

They are the largest selling Marathi newspaper and the fourth largest Indian daily. While most of the dailies faced the heat of the recession and saw decline in the readership in the recent Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2009 R2, they still managed to show a growth of 4.64 per cent in average issue readership (AIR). They also launched a new edition in Goa amid the downturn. Lokmat is the top players in the Marathi genre and hold the position since they arrived. Adgully had an exclusive chat with Jwalant Swaroop, Director, Advertising and Business development, Lokmat Group to know how the new edition is doing and the future expansion plans of the group.

Swaroop explains the idea behind launching a new edition when the market was in bad shape and says, "Actually it is a good time to do so. We reworked out on our plans and realised that we can actually launch the edition in a more cost efficient manner. The newsprint prices were settling down and other costs had also reduced so it is a good time to take advantage of a situation like this." Lokmat's Goa edition is doing fine, as of now the edition is having over fifty thousand copies circulation which Swaroop says is a good achievement in less than a year of our launch.

So is the group planning to explore new horizon and further expand their market share? He says, "We are exploring different options for our future expansion plan. The next area we are considering is to strengthen our digital offerings we are working towards it. For increasing market share in the overall publishing space this may be considered as the way forward. Some publishers have successfully done this."

The Hindi offering of the group, Lokmat Samachar publishes from Nagpur, Akola, Aurangabad and Kolhapur, while the English, Lokmat times publishes from Nagpur and Aurangabad. Talking of both these Swaroop informs, "Both these newspapers are steady and growing. Lokmat Samachar is a wonderful product and has been accepted both by readers and advertisers alike and so is Lokmat times which is the largest English newspaper of Marathwada and it has a substantial loyal readership base." He further explains that from the Maharashtra's perspective it is important to have the bouquet of main languages with you as it helps to cover the market in a better manner.

IRS data has been consistently showing declining numbers on this he comments, "I can only hope that the readership numbers may see growth in the coming rounds as publishers are working hard to grow the circulation and readership numbers. Growth in literacy and also large urbanisation of rural areas is actually driving the growth. It is quite disheartening that the readership data is not capturing the same." Though Lokmat showed a growth but Swaroop thinks, "Our readership numbers could be better as our circulation has shown much decent growth."

He strongly believes, "Print industry in the interior India is not so well organised and has little access to quality content. There are more newspapers than a state should have. I feel it is critical for the growth of Print numbers that publishers of such newspapers and magazine either invest into the business or consider consolidating themselves."

Explaining his view on the way forward for the print industry Swaroop says, "Having seen exponential growth in circulation it is time that the industry brings better ways of structuring the business and at the same time introduce more automation for enhancing efficiencies. May be it should consider to outsource some of its processes for better cost management and control."

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