RPG Publications is set to beat the slowdown gloom and is readying to launch its feature and current affairs weekly magazine, ‘Open’, by the end of March 2009. The magazine, priced at Rs 40, will be targeting metros with an initial print run of one lakh copies. RPG Publications is the newly floated print media venture of the RPG Group, one of the largest business groups with presence in key sectors of the economy and a turnover of $3.25 billion.
Commenting on the content and the differentiating factor of ‘Open’, its Editor Sandipan Deb said, “I don’t think we are going to compete with India Today and Outlook, except that we are weekly. We are not positioning ourselves as a news magazine, we calling ourselves as a feature and current affairs magazine. My reader, I expect, has already been overloaded with information newspapers, which are thicker than ever before, news channels, and the Internet, so we are not looking at feeding our readers with the news of the week once more. We will concentrate more on features, which is trends; we go beyond what is already known to the reader. If we cannot add any value to the information that our reader is familiar with, we will not make it the cover story.”
He further said, “We will do more think pieces that are more of commentary and essay rather than just reporting. The reporting would be through the photographs. We don’t want to be ‘me too’, instead want to create a category for ourselves. We will have 60 pages of editorial and 10-15 pages of advertisement initially. ‘Open’ is modeled on the lines of ‘Time’ and ‘New Yorker’.”
On the target audience for the magazine, Umesh Kumar, Publisher, RPG Publications, said, “We are looking at person who is well-educated, is more likely to be a post graduate professional or self employed or in a MNC set-up, a person who is career-focused and who wants to enrich his knowledge. We are looking at a person who is well aware and evolved in terms of his media consumption.”
Talking about the distribution, Kumar said, “We will be present on newsstands and will be outsourcing our distribution.”
Commenting on the marketing and advertising plans, Kumar said, “We have a Delhi-based advertising agency called ‘Shop’, which is headed by Freddy Birdy and Naved Akhtar. We will be taking a complete 360-degree initiative and will be advertising across platforms. The promotions will happen close to the launch of the magazine.”
Deb added here, “We will have a strong web strategy. The name of the site is still in the process of being finalized, but we do assure to bring in completely new stuff that no other magazine website has done.”
Explaining the pros and cons of entering the market when it is in the grip of a slowdown, Kumar said, “I believe it is both ways; it’s a good time because it gives you a lot of opportunity to hire good talent, because the market is down and nobody is really hiring, so can acquire good talent. Secondly, on the marketing front, at this time if one is able to innovate and do things in a different way, the cost of entry could be lower.”
“At the same time, there remains a challenge in the advertising revenue side, because like any other media brand, we are going to be advertising revenue driven, so that would remain a challenge with the current market scenario. Nevertheless, if we are able to demonstrate and showcase the value to the advertisers, we should get our share,” Kumar added.