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Fight for the Hindi belt

A newspaper with seven editions in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar, "Prabhat Khabhar" is now launching from Siliguri, Daltonganj and later from Sambalpur, Rourkela, Aurangabad and Gaya. "Hindustan," meanwhile, is gearing up to go to MP "to give a vehicle to advertisers to reach their target audience," says Amit Garg who looks after the "Hindustan" brand at "The Hindustan Times."

Clearly, growth in the Hindi print market will not be driven by new editions alone but will also be fuelled by alliances and joint ventures. "Newspaper consortiums in the future cannot be ruled out. Otherwise, the smaller papers will die out," forecasts Nai Duniya’s Dupad.

The bigger players, meanwhile, are focused on buying out rival brands. "Experience shows that scale and size are huge differentiators in the media business and mergers and acquisitions can build scale," says "Jagran’s" Gupta. Clearly, competition in the Hindi speaking markets is set to stiffen.

"Usually, only the top two print products in a market make money. Number three and four will either hang in there for political influence or shut shop," concludes Girish Agrawal.

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