Kasturi & Sons, the group that runs The Hindu daily as well as pink paper Business Line, the weekly Sportstar and the political fortnightly Frontline, have announced that Ergo, their entertainment and lifestyle tabloid for young professionals in Chennai, will be shifted completely to an online format starting this month. Ergo’s print edition – an all-colour, 16-page, five-days-a-week publication with a circulation of 55,000 copies a day has been discontinued. The tabloid will now be accessible only at Goergo.in.
This year, media houses have been struggling to rationalise costs due to decreased advertising revenues. Some newspapers like the Hindustan Times have reduced the number of pages to cut down on newsprint expenditure, others have laid off employees. (Read our coverage of media companies here)
Classifieds revenues have also been completely eaten away by websites such as Shaadi.com, Jeevansathi.com, Bharatmatrimony.com (in matrimonials space) and Naukri.com, Monster.com & Shine.com (in job classifieds), Sulekha.com etc. (Our Classifieds section)
Effect On Ergo
Though the shift to an online presence is not unprecedented, the formula for success in this industry has been judged as a combination of both print and online. In this case, however, Ergo’s move to the web might just help it grow faster. Ergo receives an average of 100 mails a day. Its future will depend on how well its editorial team can ensure that the online publication isn’t just about content, but also about the community.
Since the tabloid was targeted at IT professionals, it should not face a sudden fall in readership – loyal readers will continue to be able to access it from their workplaces. Demand for local information is growing and this space is getting hotter with search engines, maps and services arising to cater to it. This could be one of Ergo’s differentiators amongst online magazines. It already offers reports of local events in Chennai and a food section called Saapad.