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Evening papers in Rajkot


Himanshu Bhayani  |  New Delhi 

Rajkot's evening dailies are flooded with ads and offers.
Rajkot, with a population of 13.5 lakh, is perhaps the only city in India that likes its fresh on paper all through the day. Its readership base supports as many as 14 regional newspapers, including four eveningers.
"The four pioneer evening --Akila, Sanj Samachar, Deshpardeshni Aajkaal, -- published in Rajkot cannot be sidelined as they are constantly trying to quench the reading thirst of Saurashtrians," says Arvind Shah, a veteran journalist.
"The joint print orders of the eveningers could be nothing less than 3 lakh copies a day," adds Abhaysinh Yadav, a space marketing professional.
Explaining this peculiar reading culture in the city, Kirit Ganatra, editor of Akila, says, "The lifestyle of the people of Rajkot and Saurashtra is much more laid back as compared to other parts of Gujarat. Here people prefer to rest and spend time with family or read The Siesta culture in Saurashtra, and in our case, family sentiment, encouraged us to plunge into this. Our fourth generation is all set to mark its presence in the media."
In the early 1980s, Akila, which means "pure" in Persian, started off as a weekly newspaper, and is now an 18-page eveninger, and that too, one unlike any other morning publication, by Ganatra's claim.
The success of brought in others, with the renowned Jai-Hind Group launching an evening edition of "There was a very healthy competition between both the publications until 1996, when the third eveninger was launched," recalls Mukesh Vyas, another veteran local journalist.
These dailies have not only played a pivotal role in the social-political and economic development of the city, but have also provided an advertisement vehicle for low and mid-budget campaigns and one-offs.
"The publication rates of advertisement in Rajkot are probably the lowest in the entire state. However, these eveningers have marginally allowed anyone and everyone to talk about their product, concept and services as and when required at affordable rates," claims Apurva Bhatt, an advertising professional working in Rajkot.
The eveninger action has included a merger too. The founder editior of Deshpardeshni Aajkaal, Raju Shah, who was part of the Jai-Hind Group, launched the third eveninger in the city having already set up the second eveninger Shah came out with Saurashtra Aajtak, which has lately merged with a Bhavnagar-based publication group Leela Publications.
"The reading habit of Rajkotians is pretty big; probably that is the main reason that eveningers are successful in spite of the television revolution," observes Raju Shah.
Talking about the future of eveningers, says Deepak Rajani, group editor of Deshpardeshni Aajkaal: "Expansion of our reach, providing local content with various editions of our publications, and making the most of the advertisement potential of the region are the eveninger's future."
Editions in places like Bhavnagar and Porbandar have met strong responses from people, he adds, and so he intends taking the idea to Bhuj, Surat and Mumbai.
Apart from all that, the evening papers' web editions are doing well too, even as advertising link-ups proliferate. Advertisers see a worthy audience.
"Eveningers have created a different breed of advertisers," says Raju Shah, "and as a result, we keep receiving proposals for marketing tie-ups from outdoor advertisers, cablewalas and so on." If they do any better, perhaps the morning dailies would want tie-ups as well.

First Published: Wed, January 25 2006. 00:00 IST