The Times Of India's Premium Weekend Edition Starts Testing The Waters

We told you in March about the project. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, publisher of The Times of India, has started the circulation drive for a 32-page ‘premium edition’ of the paper that will appear on Saturdays and cost Rs6.

BCCL chief marketing officer Rahul Kansal said there was no launch date yet for the paper. “This is in part an exercise to assess the market for such a product. We have a very advanced concept for the paper and more likely than not we will launch it, but it’s not happening day after tomorrow,” he said. He added that the survery will help the company finalize details such as the print run.

While BCCL’s business daily The Economic Times sells for Rs10 on the weekend, the new title will be the highest priced general interest newspaper when (and if) it launches. At the INMA conference last week, BCCL CEO Ravi Dhariwal said this was probably a good time to experiment with cover prices. Indeed!

Low cover prices and the attendant business model that results in high dependency on the advertiser has been a thorny issue in India’s newspaper business. Calls for raising cover prices have become louder with the economic downturn eroding profits even at India’s largest publishing houses.

TOI Premium Edition is the working title and as with any newspaper launch, we can’t resist speculating on the actual title. TOI Think, TOI Elite and TOI Crest are the names that we have heard. What have you heard? Use the comments field/contact form or the anonymous tip box on the home page.

The full text of the brochure, detailing the content mix and the vision for the youngest publication from the 171-year old Bennett, Coleman, is after the jump.

The Times Of India
Premium Edition

Wanted: A diet for the mind

Dear Reader:

As an intelligent, aware reader, do you find yourself complaining that there’s nothing much to read in today’s newspapers? Beyond the daily diet of crime, metro accidents and political rhetoric, do you crave for a sharper perspective on the events that shape our chaotic world?

Food for thought

Introducing The Times of India’s premium edition. A lavish 32-page weekend newspaper that provides an intelligent, in-depth, yet easy-to-read perspective on the week’s news events. As well as lots of lighter reading (entertainment, books, theatre, etc.) to help one indulge one’s passion.

Rewind: The story so far

News is a little like math–if you haven’t followed a subject at the initial stages, you feel a little lost when the subject gets big. For instance, the India-US nuclear deal was brewing for over a year before it became a huge political issue. Suddenly you wanted to know more about it, but may have felt shy of asking what 1-2-3 or the Hyde Act meant. Didn’t you wish a newspaper had explained the issue from first principles?

Times of India’s premium edition will cater to this need to understand in simple terms, the complex events that shape our world. It will also provide a comprehensive guide on new trends in leisure and lifestyle.

Content mix: think

The Front Page: A big news feature bringing alive the most important news development of the past week, as well as short summaries of the content inside.

India: Four pages of comprehensive analysis and news features of the main news stories of the week. These are presented as comprehensive packages.

Global: This will be a little more about the happenings in India’s neighbouring nations as well as stories from the first world.

Business and Economy: Apart from the chunks that fill up most business and economy papers/magazines, this section would run a regular column on new management thinking and practices.

Sports: The blokes who start with the last page first will love this paper. Because apart rom the regular coverage of cricket in newspapers, due coverage will be given to lesser penetrated sports like the squash, baseball, basketball, golf, skiing and extreme sports.

Science and Technology: This section will include popular science and latest news on mobile, PDAs, electronic gadgets, games and more.

Content Mix: Feel and Do

Books: Will cover the best of the bestseller lists. And also include popular authors across genres and well known personalities.

Film and Entertainment: Apart from extensive film reviews, it will tread beyond Bollywood and Hollywood, into the realm of world cinema.

Art and Culture: This paper will not only cover music, plays, architecture and design. It will also uncover them.

Gender and Relationships: Issues like parenting, marriages, office problems, sex and gender etc. will be spoken about unashamedly.

Health and Spirituality: Working out, staying fit, looking good and eating right will be at their healthy best. Spirituality will include teachings by Gurus, articles on religion, wellness and the self.

The Good Life: This section will include cars, watches, pens, shades, clothes, fashion, private jets/yatchs and the latest must-haves. It will include the latest and the finest Porsches, Patek Philippes, Pradas, Mont Blancs, Oakleys, Savoys and more of the same.

Food and Travel: Eating out, eating in and eating in every part of the world finds a place here. Apart from the usual list of unusual recipies, restaurants and spas that will make life worth living.

Priced at Rs6 per issue.

The Times of India’s Premium Edition will be delivered to your doorstep every saturday. To book your copy now…(truncated)