By T S Sudhir
Hyderabad does not quite have a buzzing local train culture like Mumbai. It is a city where one place to another is not a series of traffic jams like in Bangalore. As though that were not enough, these are times where news is served on the small-screen platter 24×7, on a dozen channels and more. Up against all these challenges, a 32-page tabloid will say `Good Afternoon Hyderabad’ starting Thursday, July 14.
Having grown up in Delhi in the 80s and the 90s, the mention of an afternoon newspaper or an eveninger immediately reminds me of `Sandhya Times’, with its screechy and titillating headlines. `Jagdish Tytler Phanse‘ or `Sridevi kyon sharmayee?’ in huge font size on Page 1 would be temptation enough those days for anyone waiting for a DTC or Redline bus, to shell out some change (50 paise was probably what it cost those days) for an engrossing read on the ride home. Mid Day and Mirror have been companions to people on the move in Mumbai and Bangalore for many years now.
What does the launch of this newspaper, suitably titled `Post Noon’ mean for journalism in the city? For one, it introduces a new genre of journalism to a city that isn’t quite used to the idea of an afternoon newspaper. Two, Telugu news channels dish out the latest breaking news in the vernacular. Not English. National TV channels, thanks to their India-is-Delhi (Ok NCR, if you insist) vision, do not give the airtime it deserves to anything beyond Gurgaon and Noida. And in today’s times, where I am more interested in what’s happening in my neighbourhood, my city, my patch, going hyperlocal is the ideal recipe for a popular dish, provided it is cooked and served well.
Those behind the project, Scribble Media, are banking on the window period of sales that an afternoon tabloid provides. Which is 3 to 9 pm. Unlike the shelf life of a morning newspaper, which is raddi after 10 am. But there will be a significant tabloidish content missing. Keeping in mind the conservative side of Hyderabad, there will be no photographs of skimpily-clad women, the staple diet of tabloids to seduce people to pick up a copy.
Content without a doubt is king but marketing is kingmaker. And `Post Noon’ needs to create a buzz around it to ensure post noon in laidback Hyderabad is reading time and not siesta time.