AgroWon Metric recommended to Sakkal management that a daily newspaper should be launched for Rural Farmers since, a. This was the single largest occupational group in India. b. The needs of this group were distinct and easy to satisfy. c. Currently, there was no such newspaper, no competition. There was a lot of apposition from editorial and circulation teams. The major objections and Metric’s response is summarized below : Objection 1 : News is news. It comes through PTI, UNI and our correspondents. Everybody wants to read about 9/11 and Sachin’s century. What do farmers want that is different? Response : Yes, like any body else, farmers are interested in such major developments. But they are also interested in attacks of pests, current water level in irrigation dams and prices of flowers in Amsterdam markets. When you cover the union budget, you report in detail about changes in income tax rates; farmers are not interested. Objection 2 : Why can’t we have a supplement for farmers? We have supplements for every group of readers – women, children, youth. We will have a supplement for farmers. Response : Yes, we are aware of the practice of supplements. As a marketing professional we fail to grasp it; it is like selling a cake of soap in which one corner is for the dry skin of grandma, another corner is for tender skin of the baby, and so on. A supplement can not carry screaming headlines of interest on the first page. A supplement does not give feel of a newspaper specially published for farmers. Objection 3 : How about a weekly, ’A Farmer’s Guide to Modern Agriculture’? Response: Farmers want news, news about topics of their interest, presented through their perspective. We are not talking about educational booklets. Objection 4 : What is this about news through farmer’s perspective? Is my perspective not good enough? Answer : Perhaps not good enough. When onion prices go up, you cry foul; farmers want you to be happy. When it rains you write about clogged water drains and traffic jams; farmers want you to be celebrate. Yes, we will require reporters and editorial team which rhyme with farmers.
Objection 5 : Rural farmers are illiterate, how will they read a news paper? Response : Literacy rates in rural India are lower than in urban area, but we estimate that there are more than 20 million literate e persons in rural Maharashtra. That is a very large and very attractive number. Objection 6: Rural people are poor. Will they pay Rs. 2/- every day for a newspaper? Response : There is not much difference in the average income of rural and urban households, when income in kind is accounted for. Urban poor are poorer than rural poor, urban rich are richer than rural rich. We estimate that at least 25% of rural households have disposable incomes sufficient to easily afford a daily newspaper. Objection 7 : Rural area is very dispersed. Road network is poor. Currently our paper reaches most of the villages after 10 am, if it reaches at all. What is the point in distributing a newspaper if it is going to reach the farmer after he has gone to the farm? Response : Well, at least for now, it is not necessary to reach every village before 7 a.m.; it is sufficient if we reach villages with a population of more than 1500. Even then we will reach more than half the market, Moreover, the news in which farmers are interested gets generated mostly during the day time. You can start printing by say 10 pm and stop at say 11.30 pm. That gives you two to three hours extra for covering the extra distance. We have worked out the detailed logistics with costs. Distribution is physically possible and economically viable. Objection 8: Will it be economically viable? Will advertisers look at it? Answer: As we already said, you can finish printing of Agrowon before you take up printing of your main paper, therefore you donâ€™t require investment in press at all. More importantly, rural market is attracting attention of everybody. Agri-input products like seeds, fertilizers and cattle feed are sold only in rural areas, their sales are huge. But now traditional urban marketers like Levers and Titan are keen on expanding in rural areas. There is no specialized media today to reach the rural consumers. Agrowon will be the first such medium. We have a list of 200 companies who are big advertisers and are keen to expand in rural markets. Objection 9 : Will we get competent staff? Response : We searched for agricultural graduates who have done post graduation in Journalism and are currently working as journalists. We have 23 names. Not a very long list, but not bad to start with. Objection10 : There is no previous experience. How should we plan the page wise content? How many pages? What size? Response : We will research for you. Suggest some answers. And ther is always scope for learning by experience. Luckily, you bring out new product every day.
Agrowon was launched by Sakkal on . It sold 1,10,000 copies on the first day. It became economically viable in the third month of operation. It is the only newspaper for farmars anywhere in the world.