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The Hindu Tamil newspaper launch hit by agents’ ire

Chennai, Sep 17 ( ): The Hindu’s Tamil daily newspaper launched on Monday met with resistance from agents in the city. The paper was not available on the news-stands in many parts of the city.

The agents are demanding a 40% commission on the cover price of Rs 4, much above the rates fixed by other vernacular dailies. At present, the top three dailies – Dinathanthi, Dinakaran and Dinamalar pay 80 paise commission for a paper sold. The agents not picking up copies are suspected to be engineered by rivals. The Hindu was accused of spoiling the pitch through agents when Deccan Chronicle came to Chennai.

The inaugural issue had 44 pages with ten full-page advertisements from city-based jewellery shops, hotels, mobile shops and SRM College. The print order was around 5 lakh copies. It has already secured 2 lakh copy subscription for six months under a special package scheme.

The Tamil newspaper under the same name is costlier than its English version. English version is Rs.3 on weekdays and Rs.4 on weekends. The Tamil newspaper sources business news from the group, Business Line daily. It also carries a page devoted to film news.

RSL Digital, the new company is willing to pay 20% commission per copy. News-stand sales are important for Tamil dailies as it accounts for 40% whereas in English it is only 15%.

Rivals feel that the new daily has content which is not aimed at readers of the vernacular dailies and paper quality is cheaper than its parent newspaper. The launch has been a low- key affair with no publicity except for an announcement in English version of The Hindu.

The new daily operates from the premises on Elliots road which earlier housed the Asian College of Journalism run by The Hindu. RSL Digital employs the workforce of the new daily on contract basis at a consolidated sum with no mention of allowances etc.