The War of Prints Takes Over Social Media: HT vs TOI

The print industry has always been an interesting place. Relying on readerships, there has always been severe competition between different newspapers in different regions of India.

But never has there been a rivalry as cut throat as that between Hindustan Times and The Times of India.

After every other quarter or a month, we would see both of them announcing (while quoting independent sources) how they have the largest readerbase. These are of utmost importance because they help you pull in advertisers. But there can only be one on top.

In this context, HT recently announced that they had the largest circulation as well as readership for the year 2013 – quoting ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) and IRS (Indian Readership Survey).

TOI seems to have been miffed by it and they released a 7-min long video to clear the air about it being ranked 2nd. The video, seen by 106k people at the time of writing this report, also ends with a challenge wherein they ask people to choose a newsstand of their choice and check for the newspaper sales themselves.

As a response to this video, HT came up with #CryBaby – a funny take on TOI’s claims.

The video launched by HT tries to call out TOI changing goal posts suiting their needs and calls their Morning Challenge as Moaning Challenge. Unlike TOI, the video by HT is short, crisp and to the point.

 

It does a fair job of putting HT’s points across. Undoubtedly, the video by HT has found more takers and is also seeing far more positive responses as compared to TOI’s.

However, the war is not just limited to YouTube.

HT ensured that it tapped into all the digital mediums to share its message across. They came up with the #CryBaby hashtag on Twitter which saw good traction as people kept talking about HT’s video response.

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They even went ahead and advertised the same on Facebook & other online portals. Surprisingly, the ad was also seen on TOI’s website and e-paper, amongst its other digital properties.

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For fans of both these newspaper, this was a great talking about as they commented and argued endlessly on Twitter & YouTube comments.

HT was smart to use all the digital channels and generate buzz against TOI’s claims. The fact that they received far more views and ratings than their competitor, goes to show how they have been active in propagating their communication.

Unlike TOI, they didn’t contain themselves to only one platform. They integrated other platforms and ensured that more people talked about their point of view. Also, the fact that they responded swiftly to TOI’s video is equally commendable.

As an independent observer, it was fun watching both the brands taking digs at each other using the digital medium. Communication is the key here and I think HT did a little better job at it, majorly by keeping its video short and involving all the other social media platforms.

The print war is not yet done though. I will stay alert for more such battles in the coming weeks.

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