For Eenadu, growth means capitalizing on both ends of the spectrum – Print and Digital. The Eenadu Group also promotes the States Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to media planners and brands, and is all set to enter the Radio space in the next quarter
– BY SIMRAN SABHERWAL
Tapping new geographies
The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 2014 has provided opportunities and helped redefine the Telugu readership market with the focus shifting from Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam to newer towns like Guntur, Warangal, Tirupati and more. Says Christopher, “New geographies of economic development and industrialization are driving the advertisers to expand their footprint across the two States.”
From a revenue perspective, the mantra at Eenadu is Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). An IMC team has been created to offer integrated media solutions across all platforms – Television, Print, Digital and On-ground. Though it is early days, Eenadu is betting that this initiative will be a “path breaker.” According to Christopher, “The sales person needs to be an idea hatcher, data scientist, creative designer and understand the brand as much as the brand custodian. This is the canvas that we foresee and we need to be prepared.”
The Regional challenge
With data being the primary tool for making media plans, the lack of knowledge about regional markets on the media planners and brand side can be a challenge for regional players. Says Christopher, “New age planners and buyers know our market from what’s available to them on their screens. For a lot of them, Hyderabad is Andhra Pradesh and Amaravati is where?” He continues, “If they have a better understanding about the local State demographics, cultural insights, true buying power etc., a lot more value can be embedded into the buying process as media buying has become commoditized and transactional. While consumption is happening in Tier II & III towns, availability of this robust data is not available at the buyers’ end. Integration of sales reports of the advertisers, research data, readership data & cultural insights could aid the buying process which could be a win-win situation.”
On its part, Eenadu conducts outreach programs to educate new age media planners, buyers and brand managers. He says, “The need of the hour is to package and promote the state and its diversified consumers as a product. Eenadu is the platform that which will help bridge the advertiser and end consumers.”
Banking on customization and experiences
While data will be key looking ahead, customization and experiences will play a bigger role in the revenue generation process for Eenadu. Christopher adds that advertisers, more than the agencies, understand the ground situation. In fact, advertisers – across verticals such as FMCG, Auto, Consumer Durables, Education, Real Estate – are now directly associating with publications to see how they can engage with the reader directly through on-ground programs to build the brand, create awareness and lead generation to drive sales.
Eenadu conducted a pilot event for the auto major Mahindra & Mahindra to launch their new pick-up truck that targeted the agricultural and driving community. The team decided to highlight the truck’s USP to the user which could then help trigger sales. A big challenge was to understand the TG’s media consumption habits and in what form they consume media. The pilot was conducted at Hyderabad’s fruit and vegetable market at 5am where interactive activities were organized for the end-user. Christopher says the event was a success which resulted in bookings and sales for the client. The response encouraged the client to commission eight more events not just in Hyderabad, but also in other Tier II and Tier III towns across the two States. Eenadu is also working on activations with a major FMCG brand to understand and enhance the usage of the brand.
Says Christopher, “While revenue from conventional forms still power the top-lines, the non-conventional forms is where we have been investing our time to prepare for the future. Understanding the brand’s challenges and addressing them is the direction where the revenue teams are moving. That’s how we are positioning ourselves.”
Sports and Youth is another area of focus for activations. Last year, the Eenadu Champion Cricket Cup saw the participation of more than 1,700 teams from both the States and also made it to the Guinness Book of World Records. Christopher points out, “We have brought back Indian sports to schools and colleges and are keen to invest in such properties. The reader’s interest overlooks the commercial interests at this point of time for such events. Our community based events are close to a decade old and they have helped in connecting with and understanding our readers as well as creating new revenue streams.”
The Television, Digital & Radio Game
Looking at the Television space, the news channels – ETV Andhra Pradesh, ETV Telangana and niche channels ETV Abhiruchi – the food channel and ETV Sukhibhava – the health channel, have gained traction. In the GEC space, the competition in Telugu C&S is between ETV Telugu, Gemini TV, ZEE Telugu and Star Maa with ETV Telugu consistently among the top three channels.
While Digital has gained a lot of traction in the national space, regional players have lagged behind and taken time to evolve in the Digital advertising space. However, Digital in the regional space is growing much faster and at a higher growth percentage. Christopher says that dependence on networks and affiliates needs to be brought down and adds, “Currently we have products for various genres in Telugu as well as across various languages beyond Telugu. We have fairly good numbers in Karnataka, Bengal & Tamil Nadu which gives us the leverage to integrate our Print with Digital products beyond Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. We are focusing our resources in building a superior Digital product on the lines of what we did for Regional Television with ETV about a decade and a half back.”
Looking ahead, the group bid and won licenses in the recent Phase III Radio auctions for the four cities of Warangal, Tirupati, Vijaywada and Rajahmundry. The new Radio stations are expected to be up and running by the next quarter and Eenadu firmly believes that the extensive consumer insights the company has garnered over the years will help it cover ground and bridge the gap with the well entrenched competition in the Radio space.