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Magazine ads are the most influential: Sam Balsara

26-February-2014
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Magazine ads are the most influential: Sam Balsara

“While magazines do need to focus on incorporating engagements for its readers, the Indian magazine industry is still doing much better as compared to the rest of the world,” remarked Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World.

Backing this with the data and research, he added, “The global advertisement space is worth $500 billion, out of which $81 billion is contributed by magazines. In India, magazines are growing at a steady rate of 5 per cent, similar to the trend in other emerging economies.”

Quoting one of the well-known journalists and author of the biography of Princess Diana, Tina Brown, Balsara said, “Young journalists should go to India and work in magazines.” This statement speaks a lot of about the impact of rising income of consumers in emerging economies on the magazine industry.

Television has been ruling the mindspace of advertisers for over a decade now. Commenting on the same, Balsara cited some interesting figures, which prove that magazines capture undivided attention. According to him, as per a research conducted, 91 per cent of the respondents said that they read magazines with 100 per cent attention, whereas only 51 per cent confirmed their full attention while watching television. Magazine ads are noticed and are influential. In the advertising funnel, magazines ads lie towards the tapered end, which is where a consumer makes a decision after looking at an ad, while TV ads lie towards the broader part of the funnel, which is much about creating awareness about the product. Balsara noted, “Magazines talk to super influencers, hence are the most influential advertising mediums.” One probable reason for such an impact is also because magazines cater to segmented audiences unlike television, and of late, targeted approach and segmented marketing has been the key ingredient of any B-school curriculum.

Balsara’s session also ignited a debate over magazines more prominent presence in mega media plans. Balsara said, “This is my suggestion to the television addict marketers and media planners, if they chop off some of the budget allocated to television and invest it in magazines, this will result in better reach and more effective impact of advertisements.” His idea was to integrate advertisement spends by balancing the funds allocated to the two primary mediums and not to wholly depend on television. Supporting his idea, Balsara cited an example in UK where a brand shifted 25 per cent of its television budget to magazine and its gross rating jumped from 400 to 493, percentage shift of 73 per cent to 87 per cent with respect to this shift of budget.

Concluding his speech Balsara advised magazine editors to plant properties and applauded Time for their annual property which brings out Time person of the year and encouraged magazines to come up with more of such properties and along with that it is equally important to sustain these properties in the following years. 

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