Much like Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattercharya and his Marxist government’s attitude towards industrialisation and foreign capital that has been so much in the news of late, the well established Bengali magazines from the ABP stable have also evolved with the times.
‘Desh’, till sometime back a weekly and subsequently a fortnightly, is no longer an anachronistic and essentially literary magazine with arty covers providing only intellectual fodder for the fabled Bengali intelligentsia. Today, it is an all colour magazine that has cover stories dealing with diverse contemporary issues and subjects.
Again the new content, though not lacking in depth and opinionated perspectives, is rendered in a far more reader-friendly and crisper idiom, which has certainly enhanced its appeal among younger readers as well as its advertising revenues.
‘Anandolok’, another fortnightly with a strong mass readership, has evolved from being a film magazine to more of a celebrity and lifestyle magazine. The sleaze, grapevine stuff and pin-up posters, integral to any film magazine, have given way to a more candid focus on celebrity lives, their pastimes and predelictions, and entertaiment in a broader context.
The attempt is also clearly to become more interactive and even reader service oriented One such initiative is ‘Tarar Khojey’, which seeks to provide a platform for putting people aspiring to join films in touch with producers/directors, and needless to say, enjoys tremendous popularity in the districts.
‘Sananda’, the women’s fortnightly for the Bengali ‘woman of substance’, apart from having an Oriya edition since January this year, has also changed with the times so much so that now it is more focused on the world of the more outgoing and confident women of today.
Thus, self-development tips, etiquette, table manners, social conversation, and avenues for supplementary income find pride of place alongside the traditional columns on fashion, beauty and cookery.
‘Sananda Tilottama’, a hugely popular beauty contest a la Femina Miss India, and recently introduced ‘Sananda Carnival’ are some of the ground activities around ‘Sananda’.
These initiatives over the last few years have ensured that these magazines remain relevant to their readers in a fast changing media environment. Said Madhumita Chattopadhyay, General Manager – Bengali Magazines of ABP, “Basically, the reading habits are changing fast and in the cases of some, almost lost. Our attempt has been to offer contents that fit-in with our readers evolving lifestyles and to empower them in as many aspects of their lives as possible.”