Swati Publications, based in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, is the leader in the Telugu weekly segment with its offering Swati. With a readership of 39.59 lakh (NRS 2005), the publication has substantiated its position as the leading weekly, and hopes to increase this count to 53 lakh readers by 2006.
While 85 per cent of the advertising revenues come from FMCGs, the group is witnessing an increase in corporate advertising from segments such as banking and insurance, and attributes its successful numbers to its content. The magazine had stayed away from promoting itself too aggressively, instead focusing on its content and targeting the entire family, a Swati spokesperson said.
Speaking to exchange4media, Ramesh Addanki, Country Head – Advertising, Swati Publications, said, “We strongly believe that we don’t require promotions and gimmicks to sell the magazine. Success basically depends on content in the long run. Our editorial content, which caters to everyone in the family in the age group of eight to 70 plus, and the way it is presented, is the reason for our sustained success.”
The primary route of sale is news stands in Andhra Pradesh, with around 5 per cent being sold through monthly subscriptions. According to NRS 2002, The weekly had registered a readership of 35.81 lakh in 2002, which dipped to 26.41 lakh in 2003, but since then the readership has been steadily climbing up.
When asked if the weekly segment in Andhra Pradesh had stagnated, Addanki said, “Growth is happening in the Telugu weekly segment, too, but it is not drastic. Here, channels and dailies are taking peoples’ time and the general time spent on reading, I think, has gone down. In the case of dailies, an interesting news piece on television can result in people seeing the dailies for a detailed analysis the next day. Immediacy is a requirement for hard news, which is more attractive.”
He was, however, confident that with the well thought out content mix of Swati, which was launched in 1983, the number of readers would go up to 53-54 lakh by 2006.
While 85 per cent of the advertising revenues came from FMCG, Addanki noted that in recent times, there had been an increase in the number of corporate advertisers.
The content mix that the weekly is proud of, includes specific pages designed for women, children, health, spirituality, readers’ advice, cinema, politics and current affairs, besides three ‘serials’ and two articles. And of course, there is cine gossip, too, to add spice.
The weekly is also sold internationally, with approximately 1,100 copies sold every week of which 700 copies are sold in the US alone. The group has no immediate plans to launch an online version.
The other major weeklies in Andhra Pradesh include Andhra Bhoomi, from the publishers of the Deccan Chronicle, and Navya from Andhra Jyothi. While Navya is priced at Rs 7, Swati is priced at Rs 10 per copy for its 72-page weekly offering.