'HT Next' launches with an eye on youth

NEW DELHI: In a bid to open up another segment of the market and readership, Hindustan Times on Monday launched a daily newspaper, called HT Next, aimed at the youth.

Priced at Rs 1.50, HT Next is targeted at those who are in their mid-teens and early 20s, which could also include non-working adults.



Speaking to, Hindustan Times vice-president

(marketing), Anand Bhardwaj, said, "The paper has been launched after research work carried out three months ago amongst youth where it was highlighted that the youth of the country want less of politics and stock reports and more of 'their' kind of news."

The areas that mainstream newspapers did not cover adequately, youth felt, included news from around the world (on topics like terrorism, for instance), about the real world and those on science and technology and travel. The youth also wanted a lot of interactivity, Bhardwaj said, adding that this is also being addressed.

That's why the two issues that have come out till now have write-ups on varied topics like planet Saturn and a history of Rolls Royce, amongst others.

Pointing out that the basic aim is to have a product "more sharply focused" at the youth, Bhardwaj said that the separately priced newspaper would not be much of a burden on a household that already gets Hindustan Times.

The new paper has been launched with a print order of 40,000-odd copies, but the target is to up the circulation to approximately 70,000 in the next couple of months.

The 16-page newspaper for the youth, launched just ahead of summer vacations, would see hectic activity once the schools reopen after the holidays. "But the initial feedback that we have received from readers on the two issues has been positive," Bhardwaj said.

Though the HT marketing team is not willing to spell out the details of the promotional activities, but the traditional route of radio, print and outdoor advertising would be taken for publicity.

"We are not looking at the TV medium at the moment, but would have HT Next ads placed in magazines like Reader's Digest and Competition & Success Review (journals that are read by a majority of youth, presumably)," Bhardwaj pointed out.

The advertising space in HT Next would be sold separately as also as a package with Hindustan Times, but the separate ad rates have not yet been finalized.

"We feel that all those advertisers who would want to target the youth (like the cola companies) would also be interested in HT Next," Bhardwaj said.

But considering similar products had been launched by other media

organizations --- some in the magazine format --- and were unable to sustain for a long period of time, a question mark would always hang over HT Next's long-term future.

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