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Sohini Mitter
I observe. I listen. I read. I write.

Ei Shomoy: TOI versus ABP in Bengal?

On a sleepy afternoon about two weeks ago (October 2 to be precise), the chirpy social media world started talking about the ‘Ei Shomoy TVC which was uploaded on YouTube that very day. The music video brings together Bengal’s most popular bands (Fossils, Cactus, Chandrabindoo, Lakkhichhara, Mohiner Ghoraguli) and Anupam Roy, and creates a montage of Kolkata’s most famous sights and sounds (Maidan, Victoria Memorial, Hooghly river, Vidyasagar Setu, Tagore and football) with words like ‘Ei Shomoy Amar Shomoy’ (This time is my time) strewn in along with a great dose of  infectious youthful energy.

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This (click on the video) television commercial was The Times of India’s first major promotion of its Bengali newspaper Ei Shomoy which launches on October 15. They followed it up with another pre-launch campaign through 140 billboards across the city and a bevy of print ads too.

With Ei Shomoy, the Times Group marks its entry into an already saturated Bengali newspaper market (estimated to be around Rs 900 crore) which has thus far been dominated by the ABP group. It brings out two dailies: The widely read Ananda Bazaar Patrika (whose circulation exceeds six million copies according to the Indian Readership Survey) and the recently-launched tabloid Ebela which is targeted at the youth and has already hooked readers with its colourful content on film, sports and lifestyle.

While the Ei Shomoy TVC has received myriad reactions on the web, from being hailed ‘fantabulous’ to being termed ‘wannabe’, the more interesting story lies elsewhere.

The Times Group which is a leader in the English print market in India is on an expansion spree, and intends to spread its network to tap into the lucrative vernacular ad market. It has met with decent successes in Maharashtra (where it publishes the Marathi newspaper Maharashtra Times) and in Kerala (where it entered into a strategic relationship with Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi earlier this year).

But Bengal is a different ball game. At present, eight newspapers jostle for existence in this market, with Ananda Bazaar Patrika being the clear leader in terms of advertising and circulation. The others include Bartaman, Pratidin, Aajkaal, Uttar Banga Sambad, Ek Din, Ganashakti and the month-old Ebela.

While an ad war with ABP is imminent, especially in its run-up to the launch on the auspicious occasion of Mahalaya (the start of the Durga Puja festival which invites plenty of special ads), Ei Shomoy will take on ABP’s fairly high cover price too. At Rs 5 per copy, ABP is the most expensive Bengali newspaper compared to its competitor papers priced between Rs 2-3. Sources say that Ei Shomoy might be priced even lower, to start with.

TOI has also managed a prize catch in the form of veteran Bengali journalist and ex-ABP man Suman Chattopadhyay, who has been roped in as the editor of Ei Shomoy. In his last assignment, he served as the editor of his own newspaper Ek Din. 

Besides this, it is left to be seen how Ei Shomoy positions itself in the mind of the politically-conscious Bengali. While ABP has increasingly become critical of the ruling TMC government, Pratidin is virtually evolving into a voice of the TMC; Ganashakti is alleged to be the CPM mouthpiece and Aajkaal leans towards the Left as well; Bartaman, meanwhile, claims itself as fiercely independent and unbiased.

Amidst all this, Ei Shomoy (as the TVC suggests) looks to carve a niche for itself in the impressionable minds of young readers, who have modern sensibilities and wish to be a part of a new resurgent Bengal. Is it then targeted at the poriborton-obsessed Bengali? Can Ei Shomoy finally drive change in a state which is journeying into the past with each passing day? Or will it place itself elsewhere in the ideological spectrum? Only shomoy (time) will tell.

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Lets see how long Ei samay can uphold its impartial reporting...lets cross our fingers in the days of partial journalism.....much is expected from the likes of Suman Chattopadhay.
Tanaya Sadhukhan
Ei potrikay kichu likhte gele kon address e pathate hoy?? reply in tanayasadhukhan12@gmail.com
Nabendu Halder
ABP apnar ajantei apnake kakhono sobuj ba kakhono lal chosma poriye debe..where as TOI is transparent and colourless till now.. Jai ho TOI
bondhu der modhay golpo,adda tay ei samay'er katha asbay..i..
AKHON KAR KHABARER SOMOY SUDHUI EISAMAY.
ei somoy ta rock debotar i jnno..joy rock..
There is a real chance here for Ei Shomoy if it is able to remain impartial politically.The real reason of popularity of Ananda bazar among the middle class Bengali is not the quality of their reportage, which had always been substandard, partial, and commercially driven, but their ability to purchase the eminent literary personalities who shaped the language, and contributed by writing/ editing articles and making great impact through "Robibashoriyo" The time has now changed, so is the quality of news distributed, for there is Tv channels. If Ai Shomoy can be politically impartial, and is also ably supported by an electronic media of its own in Bengali, the stupid monopoly of ABP group could be severely tested.
Daroon bangla khoborer kagaj bartamane...Rana
No comparison with the Anandabazar Patrika. Usage of Bengali Language, construction of sentences and overall the standard script written in the Anandabazar Patrika is far better than the Ei Samay. It seems that most of the reporters and columnist of the Ei Samay neither read Bengali language , ever in their life, nor they care about it. It's very unfortunate that some people always get by with such sub-standard quality. For example: Todays (20/2/13) article - Kalapani 2013 written by Piyush Ash is nothing but a worst written representation about such an interesting and beautiful real life adventure story.We hope better reporting next time.Thanks
I have a subscription of this newspaper. I start my day with Ei Samay. Its a awesome paper and from my point view till now it published unbiased news. I like it........................
it is very painful for me that i could not get any publication of ei somay in durgapur, w. b.
sotti news paper ti daaaaaaaarrrruuuuuuuunnnnnnnn..........khub niropekho khobor dey,,,,,,r vibinyo bisoy nie lekha thakhe,jeta khub valo..........sukumar ray k nie robibar je lekha guli beriechilo onobodyo,osadharon.........goto robibarer goplpgulio khub valo.............amar mto shaityopremider jnyo darun upohar..................tbe 1ta bisoy bolbo,je jdi notker khobr ta theke,mne kothay ki natok hoche,seta jdi sara soptaher ta jekno 1ta dine janie deoa hoy,bigyaponer mto korei,tahole aro valo lagbe...........ei paperer suvakankhi hisebe ei tuku bollam...............
Veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood..................newspaper.
I think EI SOMOY is the best Bengali newspaper. The largest circulated bengali newspaper only sells Advertisement. To sell advertisement they provide some news in that paper. I think EI SOMOY will be the largest circulated newspaper within a few years. I do request the EI SOMOY authority to publish simultaneously this modern newspaper with local, state level, national and international news from the all of potential and well communicated town of West bengal such as Kolkata, Durgapur. Kharagpur, Baharampur, Malda and Siliguri.
Ei Shomoy agent came to my house. Convince me. Took a cheque amounting Rs.175/-. My bank statement shows that it was cleared on 5th November 2012. But till date I have not received any paper. I do not appreciate this cheating policy. They can beg for ei shomoy. sumita datta 20/C Fern Road, kolkata-19.
Your Concept was totally wrong.I got news paper within 2 months after subscription.I request you to please send an email to Ei-Somoy.I 100% sure they will call you if you provide your contact number with proper information in your email. With Best Regards
Do u want to pay daily Rs 5/- for an AD paper, less news paper ????
Ananda bazar Patrika is best. there is no alternative.
very soon EI SOMOY will b da No.1.
I 200% agree with you
Bappaditya Gupta
I am a retired person & had been a avid & regular reader of Anandabazar since my childhood. Of late I find Anandabazar to be a paper for ads instead of news items. It has become a fashion these days to make a story from a trivial news item for days on. I am also disgusted by the recent biased reportings instead of neutral stance which had been its motto in the earlier years. It rarely addresses national news leave alone international news. On the price front, I am totally disgusted with Anandabazar which is exhorbitantly priced compared to other vernacular dailies. I only wish Anandabazar group take up a soul searching excercise & correct the ongoing mistakes or else many dedicated readers like me will have no option but to switch over to some other daily in the near future.
Little to do with region i guess. see for eamlpxe; few years back Ramoji Rao gave new life to Marathi news with E.TV. Marathi; same with ABP, as a 76% partner in STAR MAJHA they already proved it since last 5 years. ABP MAJHA's STAFF/ employees are the SAME; they are from different parts of Maharashtra and knows essence of soil very well; so rest assure. Thanks for feedback.
Like TOI, Ei somoy will also have a good market share that too at the cost of ABP. ABP is now heavily biased against the ruling government but Ei Somoy is unbiased . Plus it's less priced and content is far far more attractive than ABP (which is not a newspaper rather its an AD paper.) As it belongs to TOI family, they will get the huge advantage of reaching to many household through ad splash both in TOI as well as through other medium which the other competitors of ABP cannot boast of due to fund constraint.
Manabendu Sarkar
Most welcome !!
Manabendu Sarkar
EI SOMOY NOW IS BEST BENGALI NEWS PAPER. BEST WISHES TO FULL EI SOMOY TEAM.
Online and paper version both are good and attractive in terms of content. Looking very professional and highly motivated to beat ABP.Sometimes it is better because than ABP e.g. content of "Business(babsa banijya)" page is far far better than ABP. Sports content is much better than ABP.Sometimes ABP writes literature more than the content of news.
jayanta chakravorty
Eai Somoy is the only newspaper has no political inclination , no comparison with ABP, as it works only with commercialism . no reliability of its news . It has only quality of 'sosta khobore bazar gorom kora ' . Almost all of my friends and relatives now stop taking this worhtless magazine.
samir kumar mitra
very good news paper , good coverage in every field. expected to be no. 1 within a couple of years .
EI SOMOY NOW IS BEST BENGALI NEWS PAPER. BEST WISHES TO FULL EI SOMOY TEAM.
somen sadhukhan
Yes ei somoy gives a better coverage than anandabazar patrika. Now it has the doyen editor suman da in his hand. Definitely it will beat the other newspapers soon. With the publication of ei somoy the anandabazar patrika has heralds for which frequent advertisement of self is made in anandabazar's daily.
Udayan Mukherjee
At present so many Bengali News Paper published from Kolkata , we expect that Eai Shomoy will give us the real Truth
This was high time that there should be two equal contestant in the same place .. i had been looking for a strong publication in bengali for a long time after ABP long old publications! I would love to see this news paper features comments, remarks, photo-features, creative talents from all common people who feels left out in popularity race. I wish this effort should come out from normal popularity management from featuring only celebrities and leaders daily dose and would show some effort to bring common mass along with the race. I wish all the very best to its honest and strong effort as a complete bengali news paper of all times!
Ei Samay is a very timely launch. It is a good product from Times House. It will go a long way in bengali news reading habit. Editor is a seasoned campaigner in the field. He will definitely give us a fresh morning every day. Amar Samay, Tomar Samay, Ei Samay.
Prasenjit Sanyal
I wish to see performance of both the newspapers published by TOI and ABP, as a aware management student and aware citizen i had been observing news has become a TRP based business, new artist pay money to publish their face with news against money to staffs .. i can name some of them of both news papers! I had been taking TOI since delhi and had been keep a close watch on its publications, i had pursued to publish some of my photographic work, bengali poems and articles, yet got lost as it runs after popular artists for TRP rating only! I wish all the best to TOI to its new endeavor! Regards, Prasenjit Sanyal
Most welcome to TOI for Bengali News Paper
r u from The Telegraph? If so, then join TOI.
It is a great news for Bengali news reader to get the taste of unbiased news. As ABP is continuosly getting biased and bending towards Congress it is very important to have unbiased daily news paper in Bengali. I wish you a great success in the coming days and hope many ABP readers will migrate to Ei Somoy.
Joydeep Mukherjee
Excellent packaging....in first look it feels like TOI in Bengali fonts. But some known faces are there, some known people whose background(people who is driven by whom) we know from years together!! Really disappointing to see them in renowned Times group news paper. May be in Bengali journalism world there is a lack of talented people, so you have to hire some known face. But one request, please don't deliver Old wine in a new bottle. Be a newspaper not a views-paper. Time will say more. Wish you every success.
Most welcome !!Now one has a choice to have an independent newspaper!
Time will tell more.
It was very long overdue, indeed, in view of almost a monopoly of a particular group, though I would not be inclined to view this lates venture as something that can be termed as "ToI v ABP", as the article suggests. It is really an open field for a brand new and "original" newspaper in Bengal, covering the remotest corners of the state fearlessly, including the untold stories of those who constitute "the other half" whose pains and pleasures ceased to be voiced with the district-sub-divisional-village based newspapers, much older than those who are the 'oldest' as daily newspapers, and which were more of 'cottage industries' like-ventures, usually run by families. Most of these slowly breathed their last long ago, in competition with big capital, naturally though. Let this new paper relieve the lost pages of those small time papers which had a great impact inter alia on rural/muffassil lives and even the freedom movement. Let us see id Ei Shomoy can really fulfil the vacuum, in modern farmat though. Welcome. By the by, if I am not mistaken, I think a tabloid format did come out in Delhi last year during the Puja festival (in CR Park). BEST WISHES
 
 
Sohini Mitter
I am a student of life. My professional interests lie in reading and writing on consumer-oriented businesses, brands, media and entertainment. Personally, I see the world in portraits through the lens of my camera. Literature, history, politics and sports are my other major interests. Direct your feedback to Sohini.Mitter@network18online.com
 
 
 
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April 02, 2014 23:10 pm by Nandita
Lets see how long Ei samay can uphold its impartial reporting...lets cross our fingers in the days of partial journalism.....much is expected from the likes of Suman Chattopadhay.
March 26, 2014 12:05 pm by Tanaya Sadhukhan
Ei potrikay kichu likhte gele kon address e pathate hoy?? reply in tanayasadhukhan12@gmail.com
July 02, 2013 21:04 pm by Nabendu Halder
ABP apnar ajantei apnake kakhono sobuj ba kakhono lal chosma poriye debe..where as TOI is transparent and colourless till now.. Jai ho TOI
April 02, 2013 15:04 pm by prithwish
bondhu der modhay golpo,adda tay ei samay'er katha asbay..i..
March 31, 2013 17:57 pm by GOUTAM DUTTA
AKHON KAR KHABARER SOMOY SUDHUI EISAMAY.