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Sakal Times set to launch on May 7

Sakal Times, the English daily from the Sakal group, will be launched on May 7, Business Standard has reported. The first edition of the newspaper is being launched in Pune, the hometown of the Sakal group, which owns Maharashtra's number two Marathi daily, Sakal. It runs two English papers—The Maharashtra Herald in Pune and Gomantak Times in Goa.

Some details:

However, when it launches in Pune in the coming week, the newspaper will have to compete with an entrenched player — The Times of India from the Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) — which is said to have a circulation of 220,000 copies in that market.

Sakal Times executives claim that the actual number is much less in the city of Pune. "We assure you that our print run will be as much as, if not more, that of the market leader," said Pawar. However, independent media marketing consultants say that Sakal Times is expected to launch with an initial print run of 125,000 copies for Pune city alone.

Sakal Times will also have to compete with ToI, which currently corners almost Rs 100 crore of the Rs 120 crore advertising generated by English newspapers in this market.

For the product and content, Pawar chose international newspaper designer Mario Garcia, who has designed the financial daily Mint and Telugu daily Sakshi in the recent past, in addition to The Hindu earlier.

For content, he hired the services of APCA (Asia-Pacific Communication Associates), the media firm that operates newspapers in Nepal. APCA's Dilip Padgaonkar and former ToI editor has been appointed as the editorial director and Anikendra Nath Sen (of APCA) is the editor-in-chief of the paper.

With international newspaper brands like The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal looking at India, serious print will stage a comeback," he said.

But will an English newspaper with a name like Sakal Times sell?

Pawar said the decision was taken after a survey in Pune where readers said that they wanted an English product from the Sakal stable.

But will it make sense to a reader outside Maharashtra? "Why not? ‘Sakal' means morning and most people know that. Besides, if a name like ‘Google', which has no meaning, can become one of the biggest media brands in the world, why not Sakal?" asks Sen.

Initially a 32-page newspaper, Sakal Times will have four sections. The national and international affairs section will be common to all the editions (the second edition is expected in Goa as, like Pune, Sakal group is familiar with the market) with part two of the paper being sourced locally.

The third section will consist of a 16-page (eight broadsheets) tabloid size magazine, which will be a part of the paper every day — from Monday to Saturday. Sakal Times will also boast of a separate 8-page business section. The company will introduce a separate Sunday paper later.

Date posted: May 6, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 3854