The launch of the latest entrant in the Gujarat newspaper industry – ‘NavGujarat Samay’ by Times group was eagerly awaited by the competitive newspaper as well as the readers. The wait was bit longer than expected as NavGujarat Samay (NGS) which was originally slated to get launched in October 2013 got launched only recently on 16th Jan 2014. But the smart thing NGS and Times group did in this time was to garner more and more subscriptions by a very lucrative offering of 5 month subscription at a peanut price of Rs.99/- + few freebies. This offer was too tempting for anybody to decline, especially when it is backed by a highly credible and experienced group like Times group. This created a perfect ‘BIG’ launch platform for NGS. And come January 2014 we were seeing city of Ahmedabad painted blue with the outdoors of NGS and its lion.
So till now out of 4Ps of Marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, Place (distribution), 2Ps of Price and Promotion were handled really well by NGS and Times group. On and after the launch was the real test of other 2Ps of Product and Place (distribution). My personal observation on the Product was that it was much below my expectation. The newness and freshness I was expecting from a product coming from the Times group was missing and it came across as a non-serious newspaper. But where NGS really faltered was the last P – Place (distribution), the most critical in the newspaper industry. However good product you have, attractive pricing it carries and all the promotions you do is worthless if your newspaper doesn’t get delivered on ‘samay’ to every household.
Soon after the launch I got many of my colleagues, friends and associates complaining about them not receiving the copy of NavGujarat Samay inspite of making cheque payments for the subscription long time back. I thought of inquiring more on this, to check if it was just with a limited group or is it the trend all over. This probe of mine took me to NavGujarat Samay’s facebook page http://www.facebook.com/NavGujaratSamay where on reading the reviews I found so many agitated customers complaining the same thing. Many of them have gone on to accuse NGS and Times Group of cheating them. And the worst that could happen is that the helpline no. which was set up at the time of subscription drive seems to remain non answered to subscribers complaints.
I am surprised that the largest media group of India which carries more than 175 years of experience can slip up like this with their new product in a highly competitive market. At the same time I hope that Times group will soon be able to solve this issue and curb this negative brand perception being created among the NGS subscribers.(Till now on Brand Charcha I have been avoiding to make any media group or its offering as a matter of subject for any of my posts in here. This was a conscious decision considering I ‘was’ myself working with a media house till very recently. But now I am going on to a completely new path, a new journey in a new industry – ‘Pharma’ which has given me a self-permit to do ‘charcha’ on the Gujarat media brands also)