Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dinamalar surges forward on the new media front


A 60-year-old newspaper has adapted and moved with the times, and moved quickly. Its Web site attracts more than two million unique visitors and more than 190 million page views a month; its iPhone, iPod and iPad applications have recorded a substantial number of downloads and page views, with various apps being made available on the Android platform as well. All run and managed by a small team that is highly focused on delivering value to users as well as clients, and it has paid off well.

It was at the WAN-IFRA Conference in Chennai in September last year that S. Balasubramanian, head-marketing, New Media, Dinamalar, presented a case study of how readers could be attracted to consume news on the mobile platform, and how opportunities could be created for generating new revenue. Dinamalar, printed in ten cities across Tamil Nadu, is a 60-year-old newspaper that sells about 0.9 million copies a day. Balasubramanian refers to dinamalar.com as India’s No. 1 publication portal, with 2.05 million unique visitors and more than 20.43 million visitors a month, more than 192 million page views a month, with about 47 per cent of users in the 25-35-year age group.

It’s been quite a remarkable success story, which Balasubramanian in his presentation pointed out was because of innovative content for mobile platforms, dedicated teams for photo and video galleries, dedicated content, technical and marketing teams for the iPhone, iPad and Newshunt mobile site, and special content for the global Tamil community (more than 30 stories relate to NRI Tamilians daily). During the presentation, Balasubramanian described the mobile phone as more than a just walkie-talkie. “It is more than sending or receiving messages, more than accessing mail, it’s about staying connected constantly with the world with the most convenient device that users cannot stay without,” he says.

The success on the digital media platform for Dinamalar is buttressed by some of the statistics Balasubramanian dished out. For example, Dinamalar iPhone apps have registered nearly 46000 downloads, more than 0.63 million visits a month, and five million page views. After the launch of the iPad app, Dinamalar registered 1251 downloads on the very first day. Dinamalar was the first Tamil newspaper to launch the iPhone and iPod touch apps in June 2011, and the first to launch the iPad app in September that year. Overall, one the digital platform, more than 2.6 lakh downloads and 27 million page views a month have been registered. The recently launched Android platform, which runs on a free operating system, has picked up very quickly. In two months, the apps has registered about 30000 downloads, comparatively much faster than the numbers notched up by the iPhone apps. A Windows-based app, and the Android tab have also been launched, is what I hear.

“We have notched up some good numbers as far as mobile apps are concerned. If you look at the iPhone app, we already have more than 50000 downloads (during the past seven months after launch). You must remember we are a Tamil language Web site, which in a way is a limitation. Anybody using the apps must know to read Tamil. A sizeable number of the NRI Tamil population may not know to read, although they can talk fluently. So, despite all that, we have substantial numbers,” Balasubramanian explains. The Dinamalar Web site attracts regular traffic from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. Currently, the digital apps are offered free, but the paid route is likely to be adopted soon. On average, the user comes to the Dinamalar Web site once in three days, which is a significant number.” However, getting clients to run campaigns on a CPM basis is one of the big challenges for Bala and his team. “We have huge traffic and clients can leverage on this.” Dinamalar has made substantial investment for is New Media division, which includes a 60-strong editorial team and a video division that does special stories.

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