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ABP Group to bring 181-year old ‘Spectator’ to India

08-July-2009
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ABP Group to bring 181-year old ‘Spectator’ to India

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has given its nod to the Indian edition of British magazine ‘Spectator’ under title ‘Spectator India’. The 181-year-old magazine, owned by the publishers of The Daily Telegraph, will be launched in India by the Ananda Bazar Patrika (ABP) Group.

‘Spectator India’ will be the second foreign publication in the ‘news and current affairs’ segment after ‘Forbes India’, which was launched by Digital 18 Media Pvt Ltd in May 2009. ‘Spectator India’ will be a monthly.

On July 3, 2009, the Government granted permission to Telegraph Publications Pvt Ltd, a unit of ABP that publishes Kolkata-based The Telegraph, to publish the Indian edition of ‘Spectator’, which focuses on politics, arts and culture. In late 2008, the magazine had launched an Australian edition.

As per the MIB update, Telegraph Publications Pvt Ltd shall inform the Ministry within 15 days of effecting any changes in the composition of resident Indian Directors or key executives and editorial staff. Such a change would be subject to post facto approval of the MIB.

Telegraph Publications Pvt Ltd also needs to take clearance from Project Approval Board in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, regarding royalty payments to Press Holdings Media Group, London, UK.

Expert View

On the ‘Spectator India’ launch, Sudha Natrajan, President & COO, Lintas Media Group, pointed out, “Share of magazines revenue is only 7 per cent of the share of total print, which stands at Rs 729 crore. The trend in the recent past is fast changing as more and more genre specific magazines are coming to India. Despite loss in readership of magazines drastically, the entrant of these niche and genre specific magazines are encouraging signs for the print industry and indicative of audience shift to relevant information as per his/her needs.”

She further said, “It is certainly a booster for the industry as people are now more conscious of their health, fashion and upliftment of their lifestyle. People today have deeper pockets, and with their burgeoning lifestyles, growing interest in these topics has lead to launches of new magazines. It is a good sign for readers/consumers as the information is readily available.”

Natrajan also noted, “When international magazines launch in India, brands that have been advertising with them worldwide, automatically support them for advertising.”

Chirantan Chandran, Partner - Client Leadership, Mindshare, observed, “If this magazine is launched at the top end segment, then there is a market for it. At the top end there is more indulgent reading. Also, at the top end we see a high engagement with the magazines and there are 8-9 such top magazines targeting the segment. The middle and lower levels are not as indulgent and engaged.”

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