Deccan Herald and Prajavani’s Mastermind

A bilingual online guide to excelling in competitive exams

Deccan Herald
The annual plan plus archive is available at Rs 479. Photo: Deccan Herald

The Deccan Herald-Prajavani exam-oriented Mastermind, begun just over a year ago in September 2021 by the news media group, is an online guide for students preparing for competitive employment exams such as the UPSC, KPSC, PSI, FDA, and Banking PO. It is a bilingual ePaper put together by a team of experts leveraging the strengths of two of the Bangalore-based Printers Mysore group’s media brands – Prajavani in Kannada and Deccan Herald in English. 

The subscription-based plans provide bilingual content in English and Kannada, multiple-choice tests, explainer videos, practice question papers, and archives to access the content of previous months. Several types of subscriptions are available with the introductory pricing of the annual plan discounted to Rs 399 for a year. The annual plan plus archive is available at Rs 479 and the archive subscription by itself is Rs 129. The archive was initiated recently – after the accumulation of about 10 months of content – as the project goes into its second year. 

Sitharaman Shankar, CEO at the Printers Mysore, explains that the Mastermind content is delivered as a four-page ePaper five days a week to subscribers. Two pages are in English, while the other two are in Kannada. The software is the same that is used for the ePapers of the group’s Deccan Herald and Prajavani dailies – the Gurgaon-based Summit’s Smartpaper platform. Videos are embedded within the ePaper – these contain the speech of the instructor along with the content written by a moving pen on the whiteboard in a simulation of the classroom. The instructor speaking is generally the same team member who has written the instructive content.

Online tests corrected – with explanations

Moreover, the group is planning to start producing sets of appropriate multiple-choice exams or tests that the students will take online. They will get back their corrected papers with explanations alongside. The exams will be priced separately and are likely to be launched in November.

Within the first year itself, the Mastermind effort has become financially viable. Shankar says that at one point in the past year, 40,000 subscribers were enrolled online. The aggressive pricing of the first year has been retained as the project goes into its second year. There is also demand for a physical product, a printed four-pager, which, according to Shankar, the group is evaluating as a possibility.

“We’re driven by a genuine desire to help students in their quest to crack these competitive exams, and we have the expertise to make a difference to their prospects,” says Shankar. “For us, it is a natural space to be in, given the wealth of content we have, and the credibility our papers enjoy. It makes sense to monetize this advantage while keeping prices affordable enough to ensure a range of students benefits.”

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

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