Rising of Prabhat Khabar
on a fast lane of growth
No doubt to reckon Prabhat Khabar as one of the fastest growing Hindi dailies in Jharkhand and its neighbouring regions including West Bengal and Bihar. But the story behind the success of this newspaper is more about dedication and struggle. KK Goenka, managing director, Prabhat Khabar, Neutral Publishing House Limited and RK Dutta, executive director, Prabhat Khabar talked to Jyaneswar Laishram of All About Newspapers to unfold some untold tales behind the making of this promising Hindi daily.
Establishment of Prabhat Khabar in the year 1984 was followed by an instant policy failure in 1989 which eventually led to almost shutdown of the newspaper. Operated by some local politicians in a poor/sub-standard infrastructure, overstaffed (250 employees) for six-page newspaper circulated just 500 copies, single edition of Prabhat Khabar printed in Ranchi was in a pathetic situation way back before it was acquired by Neutral Publishing House Limited, promoted by Usha Martin Group. The acquisition marked a big turning point of the newspaper!
Prabhat Khabar is now circulating 10 editions printed in different locations in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar. Jharkhand editions are printed in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Deoghar; in Bihar, it gets printed in Patna, Muzafarpur, Bhagalpur and Gaya; and two editions in West Bengal are printed in Kolkata and Siliguri. A total readership of 75 lakh as per the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS) report and circulation of 8 lakh copies daily in all the cities make Prabhat Khabar one of the most acclaimed Hindi dailies in the region.
“In a short span of one and a half years, we have grown from 9th position to 7th among the top 10 Hindi dailies in the country,” said KK Goenka adding that Prabhat Khabar is also known for its credibility towards the causes for the people and society. Pro-people Prabhat Khabar is proud of its contents presented by a generous editorial team led by chief editor Harivansh. “We never compromise on public issues as we are the first Hindi daily who pulled the animal husbandry scam out of closet in the region,” remarked KK Goenka.
KK Goenka, RK Dutta and Harivansh are considerably the three craftsmen behind the overall development of Prabhat Khabar brick by brick which underwent quite an eventful and challenging journey for more than two decades to bring it to the podium where it is standing today. The newspaper boasts of its competence in competing three leading national dailies viz. Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and Hindustan, which is indeed a biggest asset achieved!
Having been witnessing big expansion over the last two years in Bihar, Prabhat Khabar unveiled its editions for Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur and Gaya in the last one and a half year. “Though we started in Patna in 1996, it was just a dormant edition with just 25-30 thousand copies. But re-launch of the edition now taps a circulation of four lakh copies daily,” asserted KK Goenka. Now, Prabhat Khabar in Patna gives tough fight to many national dailies who really feel the pinch. And the same jolt is in Kolkata as the newspaper stands at number two in the metro.
“Ever since the days when there were just a few newspapers in Jharkhand, we thought of plans on improving infrastructure to a state-of-the-art facility,” said RK Dutta adding, “We kept discussing the matters with Manugraph and TPH over the years and we developed gradually in phase manners.” All the regional centres are equipped with all colour presses except Deoghar, Gaya and Kolkata where editions posses lesser pages, which however will be updated to colour machines sooner than later.
New technologies are always being the main forte at the production facility of Prabhat Khabar. “Earlier the supplements were separate and manually inserted but now we have equipped with Balloon Former, which helps insert the supplement printed simultaneously with the main section,” informed RK Dutta. He further mentioned, “In order to save time and manpower in distribution we already have initiated with some companies for automisation, which will save time for packaging and dispatch.”
Pacing up with the latest technology, ink optimisation software is another adoption lying underway with which reduction in consumption of inks will be viable upto 10-15 percent. Internal maintenance team of Prabhat Khabar closely vigils over IT and MIS systems as editorial team of the newspaper will soon be furnished with web-base technology helping reporters in remotest destinations to remain in touch with the news desk of the main office.
Since changes have been a proven dynamism of Prabhat Khabar over the years, the newspaper recently got a brand new look in which fonts have been changed into reader-friendly styles and layouts become more attractive than ever!