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15 April, 2008

Times of India launches Chennai edition

The Times of India has reached Chennai to take on The Hindu after worsting market leaders in New Delhi and Bangalore in bitter battles in which it demonstrated its readiness to bend the rules of the game.

It had made a big impact outside the home turf of Mumbai in the last few years using the twin strategy of trivializing news and cutting the cover price.

It had been preparing for the Chennai entry for several years. “With a circulation of 3.5 million, we are today the world's largest English newspaper across formats, sizes and genres,” it declared in the Chennai edition, which was launched on April 14. “And yet, there has been this strange void. Call it a Chennai-shaped hole.

“We have long dreamed of having our masthead in the historic southern city of Chennai, where there is such a premium placed on the written word. In many ways, it was our final frontier - at least within India.”

The paper’s website featured the front page of the print edition (reproduced here) , and carried several letters from readers.

T.M.Premkumar, Chennai , wrote: “Dear Sir, We warmly welcome (you) to the City of charms and hospitality. Of late there has been a vacant slot for an unbiased newspaper. Every other newspaper here has developed a shade of political colour. I believe that every newspaper should present NEWS for its readers, and exhibit its VIEWS in its editorials. When the NEWS is coated with political HUES and VIEWS, it becomes unpalatable. I only pray and hope that the TIMES OF INDIA does not change its colours, and should concentrate on NEWS alone.

S. Bhaargavan of Coimbatore enquired when he could get the paper in his city.

The very first issue made a conscious attempt to woo the city’s large Malayalee community. In a report, headlined “Far from home, yet in touch with roots”, the paper took note of Vishu celebrations by those who did not get back home to Kerala.

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