Samay, August 15 : Old lady of Boru Bunder to take on Aveek Sarkar in Bengal

Shine Jacob writes in Business Standard:

Set to launch its first Bengali daily by year-end.

It may well be the clash of the titans in West Bengal’s media industry. The country’s largest media conglomerate, Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), also known as the Times group &  ” The Old Lady Of Bori Bunder” , is set to battle it out in the regional media space with Aveek Sarkar’s family-owned Anandabazar Patrika (ABP). There were speculations that the Bengali newspaper would be named Samay and launched by August 15. The hiring process had been initiated, though the group had not finalised on who would be the editor.

According to sources close to the development, the Times group is planning to launch a Bengali newspaper by the end of this year. While The Times of India is the largest broadsheet daily in the country, Anandabazar Patrika is the largest Bengali newspaper. According to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, Anandabazar Patrika has a circulation of nearly 1,250,000, while its nearest competitor, Bartaman, has a circulation of 534,000 copies. Other major competitors in the vernacular space are Aajkaal, Sangbad Pratidin, Ganashakti, Sakalbela, Ekdin and NEWZ Bangla.

The plan to launch a Bengali daily is considered to be a move by the Times Group to position itself against ABP in the vernacular space. In Bengali, TOI  has two magazines, Samay and Udita. The Times Group has a strong presence in regional markets, with dailies like Navbharat Times and Sandhya Times (evening tabloid) in Hindi, Maharashtra Times in Marathi and Vijaya Karnataka in Kannada.

Anandabazar Patrika, founded in 1922 by Prafulla Chandra Sarkar, is the largest read Bengali newspaper, with a readership of more than six million, according to Indian Readership Survey reports.

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