Lokmat Media launches 'unified' front page with 16 columns

In what is possibly the first instance of a broadsheet newspaper innovatively using not 8 but a full 16 columns across the front and back pages for a lead picture to physically communicate the size and scale of a world-record-setting event, Lokmat Media Limited, by using the picture as described, and also spreading its ‘front’ page coverage seamlessly across the back page over a span of 16 columns, has perhaps created another world record for its latest media innovation.

Rishi Darda, Editorial Director & Joint MD, Lokmat Media Ltd, says, “Lokmat Connect had just assembled over a lakh of people in the stadium, and another 40 to 50 thousand outside, on a mid-week working morning, to set a world record for singing the National Anthem. It seemed as if all of Aurangabad had surged to respond to our call to set the world record. It was a truly never-before gathering of people.

“So when we had our post-event editorial meeting to plan the next day’s issue,” says Darda, “One of our main priorities, apart from excellent editorial content, was: How do we give the readers a sense of the scale of the mammoth turnout? While a picture normally speaks a thousand words, our lead picture bespoke a lakh people, so we decided to be innovative, and you can see the result.

“To the best of my knowledge and belief,” says Darda, “It was a world-first: a 16-column colour picture with the lead story of the day, with both, the front and back pages working seamlessly together as a unified ‘front’ page.”

Getting a lakh-and –a-half people, which is around 8% of the entire population of Aurangabad, to congregate mid-week on a working day morning, is no mean feat. “Lokmat’s media innovation is not just a celebration of that success,” says Darda, “but, more importantly, our way of thanking everyone who turned up, putting their lives on hold for the hours they spent with us.”

Lokmat’s innovation not just communicated the scale, but also had a clever little element of surprise for the reader. When one picked up the newspaper – which obviously arrived with the front page folded vertically into half – and saw the front page only, it had a beautifully aligned 8-column banner picture. The layout of the other elements on the front page too looked like a normal, well designed front page.

Says Darda, “Only when the reader opened the front page and glanced at the back page did the front page picture of 8 columns revealed itself to be a full panoramic 16-column spread, and the editorial content beneath it on the back page too belonged, seamlessly, with the front page layout.”


On why Lokmat Media organized the event, Darda says, “Media brands do several things to connect with their readers, users, viewers, constituents. Ours was an activation exercise driven by patriotism, and a solemn sense of our duty to the Nation. We wanted to help people gift to the Nation, a World Record around our National Anthem, on the eve of Republic Day. We were not only commemorating 100 years of Jana Gana Mana, but also celebrating 30 years of our solid presence in, and bond with, Aurangabad. That’s why we chose the National Anthem world record for this.”

Fittingly, even the massive backdrop had only Jana Gana Mana on it, with a tiny strip of ‘Lokmat’ far below it — more like its salute to the National Anthem.

The media innovation was made possible by the width and depth of Lokmat’s strong, emotional and enduring connect with the people it has been partnering and serving in their day to day lives, day after day and year after year for the past 30 years.

“It was a never-before connect managed brilliantly by Lokmat Connect, our Events specialist team, which has organized many mega events,” says Darda. “As a strong brand that is loved and respected by the millions of our constituents, we are in a strong position to connect any outside brand with the lives of the people in our markets.”

“This connect with the people of the city, across barriers of caste, community, gender and age groups,” says Darda, “Is what empowers us to contribute to and make an impact on the life of every Maharashtrian in general and Aurangabadkars in particular.”

For a combined experience of Lokmat’s media innovation and connect, check out the pictures of their newspaper layouts from 26th January 2012, which show close to a lakh of people standing jam-packed in the city’s largest stadium, early in the morning on a working day in the middle of the week, having put their lives on hold for a few hours in response to Lokmat’s call.

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