Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why Sudhir Agarwal's project failed: Dainik Bhaskar's English daily DB Post fails to make a mark

Dainik Bhaskar group's English newspaper DB Post would soon complete one year. But the paper has failed to create any stir in Madhya Pradesh.

If it made news, it was for the wrong reasons. Dozens of journalists quit the paper soon after joining it. Till now more than 50 journalists have left the newspaper.

The paper has achieved circulation in Bhopal city because of promotional scheme at the launch time. It is also given in place of Bhaskar's Hindi pullout, however, in terms of impact the paper has failed to make any mark.


Long back, Bhaskar used to have an English daily named 'Bhaskar'. It was later converted to National Mail, which was shut down in 1999-2000.

While National Mail commanded respect and was a full-fledged newspaper, the 10 page DB Post has performed even more poorly.

There are many reasons for DB Post's failure. As Bhaskar is a market leader in Hindi, it was felt that English daily would be able to get a good circulation due to existing Bhaskar network and the group's aggressive marketing.


But the paper didn't come out as an English paper. It was more like English version of a Hindi newspaper. It bears the stamp of a local Hindi newspaper's English version, not an independent English paper.

This has been its biggest drawback from the beginning. As part of the promotional scheme, it reached homes of many Bhaskar readers who were given option that they could get it instead of Bhaskar's other pullout, DB Star.

Editorially, it is a weak newspaper. When Bhaskar takes a stand on an issue or reports it in a way, DB Post reporting--taking up the issue ignored by its Hindi publication or taking a different stand, sends wrong signals.

This becomes a problem when readers are well-aware of newspaper group's policies and stand on particular politicians and parties. The newspaper has no editorial page. Even though editorials may not have great readership, opinion page has its own importance.


Secondly, owners seem to have mishandled the entire project. In Bhopal, it is commonly known that Bhaskar owners treat the staff shabbily. But English journalists who weren't used to 'Bhaskar ways' began quitting as they found the work culture 'unbearable'.

The interference from the 'Bungalow', unusual interference of a woman member of the family in editorial affairs and the pressure to do stories as per whims and fancies of the management--overriding the editorial concerns, were not tolerated by journalists. The ten page paper has adequate local coverage but it fails in doing big stories and lacks in-depth coverage.

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