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‘Vijaya’ Means Competition for Kannada Newspapers

Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

Mangalore, Jun 14 : When Vijay Sankeshwar, king of logistics and former newspaper baron launched his latest baby “Vijaya Vani” on April 1 this year, he did not want it to be another April fool joke.  With the launch of this new newspaper to the existing stampede the competition for grabbing eyeballs of readers in Kannada newspaper journalism is hotting up.   It may even turn out to be another revolutionary step in the field of Kannada print journalism which is rotten and stinks with quite a few skeletons in its cupboard stumbling out.  The featuring of the name of a well-known and  powerful newspaper editor in the illegal mining report and  the circulation of list of names of journalists in the pay roll of the present BJP government,  it could be said that Kannada print journalism is in the morass from which it has not able to come out.    It needs to be seen whether Sankeshwar’s Midas touch would herald another revolution in Kannada print journalism just like the one he did 13 years go.
The very fact that Sankeshwar chose to launch his new baby on Fool’s Day, demonstrates that he loves doing things differently and that he means business.  Sankeshwar  is widely credited for revolutionizing Kannada  journalism 13 years ago with the launch of Kannada Daily  “Vijaya Karnataka”,  that went on to become the number one Kannada newspaper of Karnataka, thus infusing a new kind of vibrancy and liveliness into Kannada newspaper journalism.  

The new daily Vijaya Vani is the sixth state level Kannada Newspaper which will be competing with the existing leaders like Vijaya Karnataka, Prajavani,  Udayavani, Kannada Prabha and Samyukta Karnataka in that order.  But most of all it would be competing with his earlier baby “Vijaya Karnataka”, the number one Kannada daily newspaper, which he sold to Times of India Group of newspapers in 2006 for Rs. 300 crores.  Only after the completion of the five-year no-compete clause, Sankeshwar has launched his new daily.

It looks as though running a newspaper is Sankeshwar’s passion,  something which is in his blood having inherited the printing business from his father.  This passion lay dormant when he went on to strike gold in transport business until he brought about a revolution in Kannada print journalism with Vijaya Karnataka a decade ago.  Though he was forced by circumstances to part with Vijaya Karnataka the passion for bringing out new newspaper must have spurred him once again to come to newspaper business.  He thought it prudent to have the name “Vijay” with his next venture too and did the next best thing of buying a 57-year old Tumkur-based local newspaper and re-launched it as “Vijaya Vani” statewide.  

The launch of Sankeshwar’s latest baby has unnerved the media giant TOI group which even went to the court against Sankeshwar for using a part of the title “Vijaya” for its new newspaper saying the title clashes with the one it had brought from Sankeshwar.  It is quite comical that TOI group went to court on such frivolous issue.  The title “Vijay” is Sankeshwar’s first name and TOI cannot say the name “Vijay” is their personal property.  Those who have seen Vijaya Vani will know that the masthead carries the photo of Sankeshwar (which it intends to carry for sometime) and can any stop Sankeshwar to name a paper after his own name?  If this suit against Sankeshwar was to sustain every other Kannada and English newspapers in the country will be at loggerheads simply because names like Vani, Karnataka, Times, Deccan,  Chronicle are common to most newspapers in India.  

Just when the news trickles in that the TOI suit has been dismissed and Sankeshwar  savours the taste of winning the first hurdle he has given another shocking news to his competitors.   Sankeshwar is getting ready for the long battle ahead and is all set to launch another Kannada newspaper and also a Kannada news channel, which is due for launch by Deepavali this year.   If a newspaper giant TOI group is nervous and even demonstrated it by filing a suit it is just an indication of the things to come by. His competitors are wary of Sankeshwar’s earlier track record, his determination, proclivity for innovations, never-say-die spirit and his vast logistics network, all of which would facilitate his gaining control over the market in every nook and corner or where other newspapers fear to tread. 

Today if Kannadigas consume about 2 million copies of Kannada newspapers every day, credit goes to Sankeshwar who singlehandedly was responsible for a drastic increase in newspaper consumption that was stagnant at 6.5 lakhs about 13 years ago.  It was Sankeshwar who provided his Kannada daily at Rupee 1 to the readers prompting his rivals to resume a ‘price war’ that led to an increase in circulation.   

Stiff competition means survival of the fittest on the top and these top newspapers would eye for the Rs 500 crores annual advertisement revenue.  As of now, Vijaya Karnataka is number one with an average circulation of nearly 6 lakhs  with Prajavani, whom Vijaya Karnataka dislodged from top slot,  standing a close second.  Udayavani is third followed by Kannada Prabha and Samyukta Karnataka. As per the latest industry data source Vijaya Vani has an average print order of 3.18 lakhs from six editions. 

Though Vijaya Vani started with only three editions within two months it is published from 7 editions and by June end it would be published from Shimoga and Gulbarga also.   Sources say that with the help of his lorries Sankeshwar plans to concentrate on smaller cities and towns and rural areas where other newspapers don’t have the reach.

According to an inside source this time  Sankeshwar is not inclined to use the same old tactic of indulging in a  price war but would focus on other aspects of marketing.  Sources say he has sent shock waves among his competitors by almost doubling the commission of newspaper agents and this move had the agents even go on a strike demanding similar hike by other groups.  All expect TOI group had relented and agents called off the strike only after other papers agreed to increase their commission, though not to the extent of Vijaya Vani’s. 

However, it is not going to be a cakewalk for Sankeshwar this time as his competitors are well aware of the rampage Sankeshwar had caused earlier and are ready to face the challenge head on.  When he had launched Vijaya Karnataka no one took him seriously.  Samyukta Karnataka Shama Rao had porked fun at him saying “running a newspaper is not like running lorry business.  It will be sight to see him closing doors within three month and go back with bag and baggage in his own lorry”.   It is now an open secret that Shama Rao was made to eat his own words and Sankeshwar showed he could accomplish what seasoned businessmen like Thapars and Ambanis could not.   Udayavani Editor Balakrishna Holla says “we are ready for any competition 24x7 and it need not be just from new newspapers.   We set a growth target for ourselves and this target itself is our competition and our challenge that keeps us on our toes”.

Cynics and Sankeshwar’s detractors have brushed aside the latest threat saying his present venture has failed to live up to the pre-launch hype.  There are others who argue that the present set up is bereft of any known name in the field of Kannada journalism to cause any major upheaval.  However, inside sources say that it is a well-orchestrated move by Sankeshwar as he wants to keep at bay all the tainted names.  Reliable sources within the organization say that though many ‘well-known’ names of Kannada journalism had approached Sankeshwar he chose to recruit only those with a clean image and keep away all those known for sensational journalism with tainted reputations.

“I attended three meetings called by Sankeshwar and in all these meetings he had said we do not want corrupt journalists and if at all he comes to know anyone indulging in it they will be shown the door.  He has been very choosy in recruiting people and that is why there may not be ‘known’ names associated with Vijaya Vani”, says a senior journalist associated with Vijaya Vani.   It is an open secret now that there are two groups in Kannada journalism which are loggerheads. Sources say Rajiv Chandrashekar who owns Kannada Prabha and Suvarana News Channel has been bombarded with many anonymous letters accusing him of sheltering corrupt journalists even while making a hue and cry about exposing corruption.

Just a few months back a list containing  names of journalists who are  alleged to be in the  pay roll  of BJP was in circulation and Harishchandra Bhat, former press secretary to Veerappa Moily and Ramakrishna Hegde, now a freelance journalists even wrote an article about it though he did not name any one.  This group whose name was in the said list lodged a counter attack by circulating a similar listwith the names of other genuine journalists.  This only shows that Kannada journalism has reached its nadir. 

A kind of cold war is now going on between these two groups and luckily the other group feels it has found a savior in Sankeshwar who they feel has provided a platform for honest journalists.   Whether Sankeshwar will be about to replicate the magic formula he had and whether he would be able to cleanse the existing corruption in Kannada Journalism with his new baby or babies remains to be seen.

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Comment on this article

  • dinesh, Huliyurduga

    Wed, Mar 2 2016

    prajavani is good every time, all papers also good in some thinking points,,,

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Anith, Arsikere

    Wed, Nov 11 2015

    Vijaya Karnataka paper is No1 kannadda news paper ,Prajavani is next palce

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • siddu, gulbarga

    Wed, Sep 24 2014

    vijaya vani daily news paper the best encrisment of people

    DisAgree [3] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • kokila a p, bangalore

    Wed, Feb 5 2014

    The article kannadadalli English kalike is coming very nicely. Please don't stop publishing this article. If possible republish from first after completion. its a humble request from my side because so many are learning English easy. Thanks a lot for vijayavani.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • anu, mysore

    Mon, Sep 23 2013

    vijayavani newspaper its nice and good job. this paper given full information entire karnataka and also useful childrens and improve the knowledge and also helpful the teenage girls to give tips. All the best all yours future success.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Guruprasad, Bengaluru

    Wed, Sep 18 2013

    All SBI bank Atm hates Kannada option why?... they disabled the the same. Please guide them about the importance of the official language.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • santhosh, bangalore

    Thu, Oct 4 2012

    vijayavani newspaper is exelent. daily i saw newspaper i am so impressed.  Thank you sir you are a role model for every one ..............

    DisAgree [1] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sachin k, Hubli

    Fri, Sep 28 2012

    I,m Impressed about all pages are coloured and paper quilty will be high but others papers paper and coloured not good. .
    I request to u plz one articals about Gadgets. .

    DisAgree [4] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • praveen, bangalore

    Mon, Sep 24 2012

    VIJAYA VANI is a one of the Best news paper in Kannada

    DisAgree [3] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • vikram gowda, somwarpet , coorg

    Sun, Sep 23 2012

    vijaya vani is the best news paper , i learned a lot from this.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • maruhti, kudligi

    Thu, Sep 20 2012


    DisAgree [3] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse


    Fri, Jul 27 2012

    this paper is super responce in seal boy from hunsur

    DisAgree [5] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • about paper, vasundara

    Fri, Jul 27 2012

    i am very impressed about your pape please give a appourtunities for new journelist and writer. Your sincearly

    DisAgree [3] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vivek.R, Bangalore

    Tue, Jun 19 2012

    The spirit of Mr.Vijayshankeswar has to be appreciated,But few ethics in their Staff is really brings Bad image on such a great man who has made many people come up in their life.Even my self had been associated with them since the First day of Launch of Vijayakarnataka ,The struggle was really pain full,I even have first News print of Vijayakarnataka with me.Unfortunately on 5th January 2005 i was made to Leave tthe Distribution ship by the Bangalore Staff & made my life to go in vien .But having the aim to again Reassociate with VRL (Mr.Vijay Shankeswar)I have taken the Distribution of Vijayavani Newspaper & ready to fight back with Vijayakarnataka .Hope by Gods grace Me & Vijaysankeswar will suceed in our Goals.Vijayavani ge Jayavagali .

    DisAgree [5] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jayanti Managalore, Mangalore

    Sat, Jun 16 2012

    All the best to " Vijaya vani". One more kannada daily news paper called VAARTHABHARATI is Bhooming now due to its originality and standard. I think its has got good support and good background and very high sale in Gulf countries.More than 155000 readers in Dubai i belive. Good coverage and its most of the times supports dalits. it a well plat form for daliths.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Neerajaswamy, Karwar

    Fri, Jun 15 2012

    Vajay Vani look like a mix of Udayavani, Vijayakarnataka, Prajavani. Sankeshwar in quest to produce a perfect peper has pluged something from here, something from there and in turn the paper has landed having no character. Unless something drastic is done to improve the content, it has not created any impact so far. Best of luck to Sankeshwar. Happy burning of money for nothing

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • S.M. Nawaz Kukkikatte, udupi

    Fri, Jun 15 2012

    Mr Rakesh shetty, mangalore, Yes whatever you said it may be right coz your are well and saw the whole rounded world. grow up baby at-least think your lives.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • paul d`souza, balakunje

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Always there must be a challenger ...then only fun in business. good luck to VIJAYAVANI.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakesh shetty, mangalore

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    @ Tauseef, Mangalore.


    DisAgree [7] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr S Kamath, Mumbai

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Nice article but 2 Important Trade tricks and secret of success of Mr Vijay sankeshwar is missing here 1. Bringing out Local Editions of the News Paper catering to each region no News paper dared to enter Karavali fearing Udayavani
    2.Beautiful ,Nice Prolific Editorial writings of Visheshwar Bhat
    We have to wait watch and see how he can repeat success with the secret of success alerady well known to the Competetors

    DisAgree [4] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ronald D, Udupi

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Hope this Vijaya Vani enters DK and establishes strong reader base. At the moment costal daily are desperately saffron biased and impose their thougt on readers and thus influecing voters...

    DisAgree [10] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Manohar Veigas, UDUPI

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    All Best Wishes to Sri Vijay Sankeshwar and his new newsprint 'Vijaya Vani'. But we should all admit that in the D.K. District, 'UDAYAVANI' still is the undisputed leader in kannada newsprint.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakshak, Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Vijaya Sankeshwara & Company doing a great Job.When Vijaya Karnataka came in public then all newspapers owners got a headache!Bcose Vijaya Karnataka started low price in market.Automaticaly Udayavani.Prajavani,Kannada prabha etc news papers decrease rate.Otherwise today these all papers more then 5 to 6 Rs.This is benfit to public like a Poor peoples,students easily by. ...Jai Bharath matha

    DisAgree [2] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakshak, Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Vijaya Sankeshwara & Company doing a great Job.When Vijaya Karnataka came in public then all newspapers owners got a headache!Bcose Vijaya Karnataka started low price in market.Automaticaly Udayavani.Prajavani,Kannada prabha etc news papers decrease rate.Otherwise today these all papers more then 5 to 6 Rs.This is benfit to public like a Poor peoples,students easily by. ...Jai Bharath matha

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse


    Thu, Jun 14 2012


    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • KRPrabhu, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Last month,in the middle somewhere I did not get my subscription copy of Vijaya Karnataka.Instead the paper distributor had planted copy of 'Vijaya vani' in my paper box.When I opened the paper,immediately I could not make out the miossing thing.Then after few minutes I realised that paper if not Vijaya Karnataka.Immediately I rang up the paper distributor who convinced me that to please bear for 2 days to resume supply of VK since there was some trouble at VK end.My point of view that this Vijaya Vani is has not gained any momentum and I wonder the circulation statistics of it is bogus.When VK was with Mr.Sankeshwar and Sri Vishveshwar Bhat was its Chief Editor,news paper was so vibrant in those days.Now with Bhat's editorial we are managing somehow.I lear that Mr.Bhat is with Kannada Prabha but so far his capabilities as it CE has not bloomed to the level of when he was with VK.I wish that Br.Bhat should work work for Mr.Sankeshwar to make his new baby grow faster and populor.I also wish that Vijaya Vani will function as a true pillor of democarcy with unbiased views without taking sides with any political party.
    I wish Mr.Sankeshwar all the best in his new venture.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tauseef, Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    All the best to Vijaya vani.We are really in need of hones journalists today as stories are being cooked up and manipulated and shown us as per the preferances of some Political leaders which is a shame.

    And Mr.Rakesh Shetty you kindly concentrate on your future rather than barking and howling on others.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • R.Bhandarkar., M

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    All said and done, one must remember that'Opportunity knocks but once in a life-time' and it did for Sri. Vijay Sankeshwar too.
    V.V. sadly he made a 'hash' of it, selling his own 'baby' to a Maarwady!For recreating the 'magic', his once trusted readers must forgive him and that's highly unlikely!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Praveen, Dubai

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Udyavani is the best kannda newspaper in D.K .

    DisAgree [27] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jaimini P.B., Manipal,Sharjah

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    Work..Work..Work..that is Mr.Vijaya Sankeshwara's Mantra.That is the secret ot his success. When we get up at 6am and getting ready to go to bathroom, Mr.Sankeshwara may be in Air Port thinking at what time he can meet his people in Delhi and Mumbai and return.We have not started our day...He has already finished his HALF DAY..Success doesn't come easily..but success will follow him/her permanently who does the hard work.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • sadashiv, vittal

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    rakesh U r right Vijayavani just like a JDS....
    JDS next ruling Party in karnataka
    So ` Vijayavani also..... get No 1'

    DisAgree [14] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Poojary, Kundapura/Bengaluru

    Thu, Jun 14 2012

    All the best to VIJAYA VANI..

    People should read more and more Kannada newspapers. English should be in brain, but Kannada should be in heart.

    Three Karnataka languages Kannada, Tulu and Kodava should be preserved and encouraged.

    Jai Karnataka.. Jai Kannada..

    DisAgree [30] Agree [51] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rakesh shetty, mangalore

    Thu, Jun 14 2012


    DisAgree [103] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

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