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Writer: Shobhana Nair - Wednesday, Feb 06,2013 7:06 PM
“Magazines have to be relevant to screenagers”

Even in the digital age, magazines mean serious business for media planning agencies and advertisers, but to remain relevant, the genre must adapt itself to be relevant to today’s ‘screenagers’, who live and breathe technology. 

Shripad Kulkarni, CEO, Allied Media shared, “The biggest challenge magazines face is to be relevant to today’s screenagers. What do you do with a generation which is ruled by only screens? But here lies an opportunity too. It starts with a focus on magazines as a reader-connect, the business of ‘content’. This focus will lead magazines to reinvent their format. To start with, (at least) two additional formats may be necessary. One Indian jugaad – hybrid of paper and mobile, and the other full digital content for true screenagers. And, if we get this screenagers challenge right, all other challenges will fall in place. Most importantly, if we don’t manage the transition of the magazine readers correctly, we will follow the world trend and lose them forever!”

Magazines, as a medium, have an inherent advantage, because they can be very innovative as well as focussed, targeting and reaching just the consumers an advertiser wants, particularly special interest groups. While they may not form a substantial chunk of an advertiser’s media plan, they can play a crucial role in reaching out to target consumers. As Ashish Bhasin, Chairman India and CEO South East Asia, Aegis Media said, “Magazines can prove to be an extremely effective media vehicle, provided they are used intelligently.”

For brand Amul, magazines constitute only five – seven per cent of the media plan, but RS Sodhi, MD, Amul shared that magazines are very vital in the media plan. “Magazines can get your target segment’s attention in a concentrated way. People read magazines when they have time.  Also, the benefit in a magazine is that you can print more details about your product such as advantages and benefits because you know that your target segment will read it.”

Satyajit Sen, CEO India, ZenithOptimedia had a different point of view on how advertisers can appeal to magazine readers: “The content of a magazine is an opportunity to influence the advertising appeal positively. If the edit content of a magazine is extremely visual and competes with the visual appeal of advertising, then the advertising placement needs to be dramatic to outpace the editorial eye-appeal for the reader. However, if the edit layout has more written content, research suggests then appropriate content around the advertising increases the advertising appeal.”

It is imperative that magazine publishers take note of the world around them and gear up for the challenges. As Ajay Kakar, CMO – Financial Services, Aditya Birla Group summed up, “Today, with the possibility of innovations, a marketer has the opportunity to not only engage with his audience, but to also leave a lasting impression.”

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