|Owner(s)||The Times Group|
|Publisher||The Times Group|
|Founded||18 June 1962|
The Times of India|
The Economic Times
Maharashtra Times (Marathi: महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स), colloquially referred to as 'Ma Taa' (मटा) from its Marathi initialism, is a Marathi newspaper based in Mumbai, India. It is the ninth-largest-selling daily newspaper in the country. It is owned by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. or The Times Group, the largest media house in India.
According to the IRS 2005, Maharashtra Times enjoys the second largest readership in Mumbai. Other than The Times of India, Maharashtra Times is the only newspaper in Mumbai which has more than one million readers in the city.
Maharashtra Times' first editor was D B Karnik. In the late 1960s, he was replaced by Govindrao Talwalkar. During Talwalkar's tenure, which stretched into the 1990s, the newspaper achieved its zenith primarily due to Talwalkar's editorials. Some of the leading editorials written by Talwalkar have been anthologized. After that Kumar Ketkar worked as Editor.
For many years, 'Patra Navhe Mitra' ('Not a Newspaper but a Friend') was the tagline of the newspaper. Its editorial and letters to the editor features have been acknowledged to be among the best in Maharashtra. It also has a Marathi elocution competition which is conducted statewide and is quite reputed.
Maharashtra Times was launched in 1962 after the establishment of the State of Maharashtra on 1 May 1960. Maharashtra Times was started by Bennett and Coleman Co. Ltd to unite the Maharashtrians and create a sense of oneness and integrity among them.
Since 1962, Maharashtra Times has been influenced by the ideas of its editors:
• 1962- D.B. Karnik the first editor of Maharashtra Times held office for a year and a half. He is a name familiar to all Maharashtrians. He is credited with starting four publications in Maharashtra. He was instrumental, as founder editor, of turning the Maharashtra Times into a dynamic, people oriented newspaper. He was awarded the Ratna Darpan (excellence in media) in 2002.
• 1964- Govind Talwalkar was a prominent figure in Marathi journalism. Under his leadership, the newspaper catered to the elite class. It focused on politics and was given a lot of importance by Maharashtrian politicians. Talwalkar’s editorials had a great impact on Maharashtrian politics and its readers.
• 2001- Bharat Kumar Raut took over as editor of Maharashtra Times. He changed the face of the newspaper in 2002 turning it into a youth centric paper. Ever since, the newspaper’s circulation has increased tremendously in Maharashtra.
• 2008- Ashok Panvalkar has taken charge as editor of Maharashtra Times. The Paper became popular, and is Number One in Mumbai. Ashok Panvalkar joined Maharashtra Times in 1983 under the leadership of Govindrao Talwalkar. He started his innings as Sub-Editor and now he is the Editor. He is instrumental in Changing the content and layout of the paper.
• 2011- Maharashtra Times launched its second edition from Pune on 7 January. Parag Karandikar was appointed as Resident Editor. This becomes the first edition out of Mumbai. Later in June Nashik edition was launched followed by Aurangabad in Dec.
• 2012- 18 July Maharashtra Times completes 50 years of its existence and launched the much awaited 'Nagpur edition' under leadership of Shripad Aparajit and 'Kolhapur edition'under leadership of Vijay Chormare. Hence Maharashtra Times launched total five editions in span of 18 months.
In 2002, Bharat Kumar Raut felt the need to revamp the newspaper as it had not undergone any change since its inception. He felt that its already captured audience was aged and mostly above 60 years. To sustain its growth and spread in Maharashtra he realized the need to attract the new generation. The newspaper saw change in the following aspects:
• Layout: It was the first Marathi newspaper to go full color and have skylines on every page. They introduced fliers into the newspaper.
• Content: The newspaper stopped focusing on politics and gave prominence to civic issues and the needs of students. Catering to its young audience, it started using common English terms in its articles like computers, world, sports etc. This they did because they noticed that many Maharashtrian youth studied in English medium schools and this practice would help them understand the newspaper better. It was the first Marathi newspaper to cover Sports news. It was the first Marathi newspaper to carry obituaries.
Layout and Content
Since the transition in 2002, Maharashtra Times has seen a new phase in its layout style. This new looking paper was made to cater to the needs of its young growing readers. Being the only regional paper to go full color definitely worked as an advantage. Also having the supplement Mumbai Times shows that it has understood its audience.
The front page has general news about various important happenings of the previous day. Most of the inner pages are Mumbai city based news. Pages 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9 are all under the mast head MahaMumbai. It deals with city based news however the Pune and Nashik editions have news related to their respective cities.The fourth and eighth pages are called Times Classified. One must note that the top column on page four carries ads in English.
The Pragati fast page: This page is for students and provides career related news. It was started as a six-month initiative but due to its growing readership the paper still carries some issues. Sometimes this page is inter-changed with the Education Times which is published in English. Maharashtra Times also publishes a magazine under the name ‘Pragati Fast’
Editorials: It generally appears on page 10 with the Op-Ed on page 11. It appears under a title called vichar. This page seems very crowded with too many articles. But since the last six months instead of carrying 2 editorials the paper has started new columns which have grown popularity.
The Dhakhal Column: It was an Initiative by Ashok Panvalkar in order to give the public a platform to voice their opinion regarding issues or personalities.
The Sagun- Nirgun Column: This Column was started so that people’s participation could be encouraged. Individuals with a base in science pen down their thoughts on spirituality in this column. It caters to the older readers so that they do not feel felt out.
Another Popular column in the Maharashtra Times is the MaTa Dahavi column which appears on page 2. This column helps standard 10th students to solve problems in algebra, geometry, physics and chemistry. It has been of great help for the Marathi medium students. It will continue till the board exams.
Maharashtra Times – Mumbai Times: This supplement started during the transition period and is youth centric. It mostly carries celebrity oriented soft news.
The Economic Times: The name appears in the mast head just like in the sister publication however the news is not sourced as Maharashtra Times has its own commerce reporters. Maharashtra Times was the first Marathi news paper to have a whole page on business and commerce.
MaTa Sports: Also one of the first Marathi paper to have full page sports coverage. Most of the articles on this page are sourced from the PTI. It appears on the last page 13.
The masthead is Bold with the text in blue against the white background. However it has very small mast space of barely 2 inches. Maharashtra Times carries a picture of the lord Ganesha in its mast head. This has created controversies as people often pay respect to the deity’s picture before buying it. Therefore, even though it is a secular paper people have their doubts and hesitate while buying it. Front page graphics: The idea of making the entire newspaper color was only so that people get attracted to at once. During the Ganesh festival a picture of a Ganesh idol at any prominent common gathering will appear on the front page. Most of the lower half of the page is taken up by advertisements.
Regular feature on the front page
The bottom left columns consists of ‘Aajcha Agralekh’ (Today's Editorial) and ‘Aajcha Vichar’ (Thought of the Day). It has a skyline giving snippets of other news carried inside. Some of the articles are written against colored backgrounds making it more lighter and easy on the eye.
Brand Building and Events
Over the years, Maharashtra Times has evolved into a credible brand that is recognized by the whole of India. It has organized various activities in association with other companies and also organized activities for the public through its medium.
MaTa Sanman Awards
This was started in 2004 and takes place every year in the month of March/April. It is 3 hour award ceremony that felicitates movies, actors and individuals from the film industry.
Mumbai Times Carnival
This was started in 2003 and is conducted every December. A float goes to various colleges in the city and gives students an opportunity to showcase their talent and bring some festivity into their daily college lives. This has helped them tap their target audience and create a brand presence among the youth.
This is a beauty contest held during the month of Shravan. The public are given an opportunity to participate in this contest in 4 areas in Mumbai: Dadar, Borivali, Vashi and Thane. 5 girls from each centre are chosen during the elimination rounds. They are groomed completely in preparation for the final round. This initiative was undertaken to boost the confidence in Marathi girls especially but participation is open for all girls. Along with the contest they have other competitions such as saree draping, skits only for ladies and other activities.
This initiative was started in 2008. Basic idea is to help needy students who passed out of 10 std. Amount of 21 Lakhs, 25 Lakhs and 60 Lakhs have been collected from MT-loving people and distributed among total 14 Students. This is MT's Social initiave.
Besides activities, Maharashtra Times has also increased its reach on the public through publishing various magazines.
During Ganesh Chaturthi, Maharashtra Times published a magazine on the festival. It is an annual magazine but helps in creating oneness among its readers.
Pragati fast Magazine
This is a monthly magazine that is catered for students. It provides information regarding various career options and other career related concerns of students.
There is no fixed duration of the publication of this magazine but is published approximately after every 2/3 months.
This magazine is published 8 days before Diwali every year. Like the Ganesh Magazine, it focuses on the festival and hopes to create a unified spirit in the celebration of the festival.
- "How media planners can exploit the Marathi dailies". Magindia. Retrieved 2010-09-03.
- The Indian Readership Survey, IRS, 2005 R1.
- The IRS 2005 R2 released on 11 October 2005
- Maharashtra Times Official site (Marathi)
- Times Syndication Service, syndication arm of The Times Group, deals with content syndication of Maharashtra Times.