SPH to launch new weekly - Oct 04, 2008 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH to launch new weekly

Aimed at the Indian diaspora, tabla! will be given out free each Friday, beginning Oct 10.

By Sumathi V. Selvaretnam
Oct 04, 2008
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) will launch a new weekly newspaper next week.

Called tabla!, it is aimed at the Indian diaspora and will be given out free each Friday, beginning Oct 10.

The 24-page tabloid-size publication promises extensive coverage of everything Indian, from politics to sports to Bollywood celebrities.

It will also provide local news to the growing community of expatriate Indians here, such as stories on education, property and transport.

The paper is named after the popular two-piece Indian percussion instrument and is published by the Tamil daily newspaper Tamil Murasu.

It will be the 16th paper in the SPH stable.

At the launch of tabla! yesterday, Tamil Murasu chairman S. Chandra Das said the Indian community here has grown rapidly in recent years, with an influx of expatriates. It now forms a sizeable niche market.

'We want to serve both Indian expatriates and Singapore Indians. We can be the bridge between them, especially as India is now a major player in the global economy and one that has strong links with Singapore.'

According to the Indian High Commission, there are more than 200,000 Indian expatriates here, and the number is growing.

Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay Newspapers Division, said the company's existing newspapers can dedicate only so much space to the Indian community.

'This segment needed a paper of its own,' he said.

tabla!'s executive editor, former Straits Times staff member Pradeep Paul, said readers can expect stories on the glamorous Indian fashion scene and interviews with top designers.

Sports enthusiasts will not be disappointed. The paper will go big on popular sports in India like cricket, golf, tennis and Formula One, said Mr Paul.

Cricket fans, in particular, are in for a treat, he said. They can expect expert commentaries on India's most popular sport from the likes of The Straits Times' Rohit Brijnath and top cricket analyst Harsha Bogle.

For younger readers, there will be a dedicated page featuring the works of students from three Indian international schools here.

The paper's editorial team will be led by Mr Rajendran Jawharilal, who is currently the deputy editor of Tamil Murasu. He will be assisted by Mr Paul.

tabla!'s launch event will take place on Oct 11 at the Overseas Indians Conference, or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, at Suntec City.

A concurrent event will take place at a carnival organised by Zee TV on Oct 11 and 12 at Suntec City. The carnival will be attended by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.

How to get a copy

SOME 30,000 copies of the free newspaper will be distributed on Friday afternoons, starting from Oct 10, at these locations:

  • Selected offices and banks
  • Business associations, trade offices and embassies
  • Indian schools in Singapore
  • Selected restaurants and country clubs
  • Airport lounges.

Readers can also get the paper delivered to their homes on Friday mornings for a charge of $28 a year.

Online users and readers outside Singapore can access an electronic version of tabla! at The e-paper will be available from noon on Fridays.

As part of the tabla! launch, 4,500 copies of the paper will be given out with an exclusive photo card of Bollywood idol Shah Rukh Khan at Zee Carnival 2008, which takes place at Suntec City on Oct11 and 12.

There will also be a subscription booth at the carnival where visitors can sign up for home delivery.