According to the latest IRS survey, Sakal faces stiff competition from other brands in Maharashtra and still stands at No.2 in the ranking order of regional dailies in Maharashtra. The gap between Sakal and its competitors has reduced from 90,000 copies in Jan-June, 2014 to 50,000 copies in July-Dec of the same year. The Sakal Media Group has a total readership of 43.07 lakh; with Sakal itself having 40.07 lakh readers followed by Agrowon and Gomantak with 2.15 lakh and 0.85 lakh readers respectively.
As per the New Consumer Classification System (NCCS), Sakal has 66% readers in the NCCS A&B category. The newspaper has also observed a 15% growth of readers in urban Maharashtra along with a 2.5% growth of readers in urban Maharashtra. In fact, with a year-on-year readership growth of 8.1% in the state, Sakal remains ahead of Maharashtra’s consolidated readership growth rate of 1.8% (which is for all newspaper in the state).
Though the numbers tell a success story in the making, Mr. Abhijit Pawar, MD of the Sakal Media Group, doesn’t believe in the measurement system and fell there is a need a better way of measuring impact and response for content and ads. He says “We are very passionate about what we believe in, and it’s as simple as that.”
Sakal has stewarded several social initiatives over the past several decades with many of the initiatives going beyond Sakal’s own regional markets, addressing needs across the country and now internationally too with projects in Malaysia, Germany, Israel, Mexico and the USA.
Emphasizing on the Group’s agenda of social impact and social change, Mr. Pratap Pawar says, “We are working on transforming society for students, women and handicapped children through the number of institutes that we run. We walk the talk.” The Group is also looking at using technology to steer transformation in the social and business spheres, with efforts to look ahead in the time and envisage what a media company would be like in the next 10 years. On the mergers and acquisitions front, the Group’s aim is not to acquire something Print-centric, but anything that will help that particular target audience.
“Sakal as a brand has a legacy attached to it and we follow the philosophy of ‘we don’t have to get into your home with a newspaper to make a difference’. The brand has a trust factor associated with it and that works towards getting people in on a cause.”, says Shri Pratap Pawar.
Mr Pawar also adds, “The future of the group is in Multimedia, so we should not focus only on Print. The young generation would have access to all sorts of media and will be the future readers, so we have to cater to that particular audience. Multimedia encompasses everything that one is looking at, and we need to integrate it with a social agenda.”
CEO, Sakal Media Group
On capturing the interest of the advertiser
“Audiences respond to advertisements in the right content environment, therefore we give a lot of emphasis to innovations in our content and layout. Currently, we are driving smart cities content with stress on a few socially relevant issues such as water and infrastructure. We just launched Speedy, a fortnightly supplement which provides engaging content on automobiles and new launches. We have also launched Techno for lifestyle technology products.”