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Media landscape in heartland has transformed; revamped Hindustan will cater to Hindi millenial readers across platforms, says Samudra Bhattacharya of HT Media

To re-imagine the design elements across brand and product, the Hindustan team partnered with Mario Garcia

The HT Media Group has revamped its flagship Hindi daily Hindustan, one of the leading newspapers in the country. The new brand identity and positioning for the 85-year-old newspaper were unveiled on Wednesday.

The publisher said that it went ahead with the revamping with the aim to cater to the multi-platform content consumption needs of the readers.

Along with launching a refresh product portfolio and packaging, the brand has also introduced a new brand positioning “Bharosa Naye Hindustan Ka” moving away from the earlier positioning of “Tarakki ko chahiye naya nazariya”. 

The refreshed Hindustan product portfolio has new elements that offer seamless print to digital integrations, which cannot be made available on a single medium, via QR Codes, social cards and photo galleries that direct the readers to Hindustan’s digital platforms to experience, engage and share content. The publication has also introduced destinations like ‘Pramukh Paanch’ and “30 seconds” to give the pressed-for-time readers a quick snapshot of everything they need to know in a glance.

Samudra Bhattacharya

Talking about the thought behind introducing the revamped Hindustan, Samudra Bhattacharya, CEO – Print, HT Media Group, said, “With the demand for Hindi news growing rapidly on the internet, the media landscape in the Hindi heartland has gone through an immense transformation. The millennial Hindi consumer wants a seamless experience while consuming news on various mediums. With our intense research, we have tracked the preferences of Hindi readers. For example, there is a massive shift in the post-pandemic content preferences where most of the topics they want to read are about self-improvement, mental and physical health and content that helps them improve their career prospects. The millennials want to know all in less than a minute. As we went through all the insights, the Hindustan team felt the need to provide Hindi speakers with a destination for not just credible news, but high-quality journalism and best-in-class digital product features to encourage and support the multi-platform news consumption for today’s generations.”

Hindustan’s reader base has surged beyond 130 million Hindi readers across the print and digital medium, positioning it amongst the top three multi-channel Hindi news brands in the country. (Source: Print: TR (Main) IRS Q4 2019 | Digital: Comscore MMX Multi-Platform Unique Visitors, Geo: India, Nov' 2021).

Rajeev Beotra

Throwing light over what the rebranded product brings to the table for the advertisers, Rajeev Beotra, Executive Director, Revenue, Advertising and Distribution, HT Media Group, said, “We are one of the few media houses which have a single sales team for both digital and print. The entire Hindi speaking belt is of great criticality for most of our advertisers. Today, print and digital media buying are fast becoming a combined mandate for advertisers. With this refreshed print and digital portfolio that we have, combined with the customer-facing organisation which is taking a combined proposition to the advertiser, Hindustan now presents a plethora of options to the advertisers to reach their target audience at scale.”

Hindustan addressed three areas for the relaunch: product play, content, and brand positioning, Subhash Chand, Head of Marketing at HT Media told “The new product enables seamless navigation between print and digital. There are digital layers in print, print layers in digital for seamless navigation. When it comes to content, we have looked at various content preferences of the Hindi consumers. In the brand campaign, one will get to see the contour of “New Hindustan” along with multiple themes like democracy, women equality and empowerment, challenging stereotype and national pride,” said Chand.  

Hindustan partnered with Dentsu Aegis Network to work on the print and digital communication campaign for the relaunch. The campaign is themed around “Naya Hindustan padh bhi raha hoon, dekh bhi raha hoon”, and showcases the various dimensions of the new India. The campaign consists of four films showcasing young Indians who are focused on bringing a change. 

Link to the four films:

“As an instrument of change in the Hindi heartland, at Hindustan, our endeavour has always been to understand the evolving news consumption habits of our audience, give them what they are seeking, and how they are seeking it. ‘Bharosa Naye Hindustan Ka’ is a reaffirmation of our continued commitment to deliver credible and progressive journalism through this refreshed, digitally enhanced product to satiate the fast-paced, yet, in-depth media consumption habits of the millennials without alienating the older generation who are also fast adapting to the new ways of news consumption,” said Shashi Shekhar, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan.

To re-imagine the design elements across brand and product, the Hindustan team partnered with Mario Garcia, a stalwart in the media industry and a newsroom transformation expert with successful projects across The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post under his belt. 

In general, during the pandemic, newspaper as a category was hit really badly in terms of circulation and ad revenue, but according to Beotra, for Hindustan and other local language dailies, especially Hindi, their distribution did not get impacted much even during the pandemic. “The distribution suffered around 12-15% in 2020 and the recovery was actually fast by the time we entered the year 2021. The distribution was back to almost 94-95%. As we speak, in Delhi we are slightly ahead of the pre-Covid level. In the Hindi geographies, our distribution hasn’t gotten impacted at all and that is the case for most of the Hindi publications and not only Hindustan.” 

Beotra said that the credit for this goes to the newspapers' ability to bring forth the most credible news in the times when so many developments are happening globally and in India. He cited the newspaper’s credibility as the reason for the readership of print news increasing in the last few weeks. 

“Given the nature of events that are happening, including global events, readers need credible news. That has further led to our circulation upsurge in the last few weeks. As far as the Hindi product is concerned, we are in a good place practically at pre-Covid levels. Readership surveys had not been held for the last two years on account of restrictions in the field movements. However, what is available to us is our online traffic, which we have shared, and it has gone up significantly. In total, it’s all in the positive direction as far as Hindi is concerned,” he said.

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