HT Media launches digital news in Marathi, Kannada, Telugu & Tamil

Mobile-first publications for the younger demographic now in five Indian languages

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Say hello to four new Hindustan Times platforms
Say hello to four new Hindustan Times platforms

The HT Media Group has launched four digital news platforms – HT Marathi, HT Kannada, HT Tamil, and HT Telugu. The launch marks the HT Media Group’s entry into the western and southern heartland of India where it has so far only had a presence with its English language financial daily Mint and FM radio station out of Bengaluru and Chennai. It recently started a similar platform in Bengali called HT Bangla. With its mobile-first digital news platforms, the target audience is the younger demographic in their own languages. 

The company says that its HT Marathi, HT Kannada, HT Telugu, and HT Tamil platforms will bring regional and local news, health, lifestyle, and entertainment stories along with national and international news. In short, everything – and all driven by what the company claims will be an extensive network of journalists and media professionals across the four new states in addition to West Bengal started earlier. Last November, we reported that HT Media comprehensively upgraded its digital workflow capabilities.

At a time when millions of Indians are looking to consume content in their native language, Hindustan Times aims to be the go-to, mobile-first publication for young Indians to get credible news and an authentic regional content experience without having to use translation capabilities, thus retaining the essence of regional news stories. For us, this journey started with the launch of HT Bangla, and within the last two months, we have launched four Indian language platforms, strengthening our regional presence even further in India,” said Puneet Jain, chief executive officer, Digital of HT Media.

“Going regional will add unique opportunities for advertisers and the new-age, hyperlocal brands to target specific region-based audience cohorts for local launches and activations, and to make a deeper brand connection by reaching out in the language their consumers speak. It would be exciting to see how localization will play a pivotal role in how brands communicate with linguistically diverse consumers,” added Jain.

“According to the Google Search 2020 India Report, there’s an 80% increase in local news searches on Google year-on-year. There’s a massive wave towards regional content across platforms, and as content creators, we understand the need of the audience to consume content in their mother tongue—both from the comfort and the sentiment perspectives—and this launch is a testimony to that,” said Prasad Sanyal, the chief content officer of HT Digital.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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