Magazines, especially general interest and film/lifestyle genre, seem to be losing their currency. As per the latest NRS, the medium lost 22% of its readers in last 2 years. But, Business genre, specifically Business Today, has ducked this trend. Business Today has grown by a whopping 33%, becoming the new No 1.
Before we move ahead, a quick run down on key numbers. Overall, Business Magazine performed better than Newspapers, with an increase of 15% readership. Business Today powered much of this growth. The Business genre leader Economic Times lost 4% of its readers to record total readership of 9.5 lakhs. Closing in, Business Today gained a whopping 33% to reach 7.09 readership, ahead of competing Business India, now pegged at 6.11 lakh readers. Financial Express, though a much smaller base (73 thousand readers as per 02 data), grew by 22 while Business Standard lost 21% readers.
In the backdrop of falling readership of magazines, mainly in the general interest, film/ entertainment and sports magazines, where the percentage decline on an average is over 25% the gains made by some titles is significant. "Over the last year or so, the news environment has changed. Current affairs magazine that relied predominantly on news have to face stiff competition. TV is disseminating news by the minute! But with increasing interest in business and economy, Business magazines are to grow," rationales Ashish Bhasin, President Initiative Media.
Publishers however point out a more micro reason - Aggressive Marketing and superior Content. Says a jubilant Ashish Bagga, Publisher, Business Today, "Our aggressive marketing strategies have paid off! We strategically focused on key segments using twin strategy- being more accessible and more visible. To improve accessibility, we reworked our distribution strategy to give a more aggressive push on newsstands and dropped our prices. We also drove visibility by organizing special events that improved the brand value in consumer's mind. Each step was well thought off and it paid!"
But why has the market leader, Economic Times not grown. The branding and marketing strategy as Times are as good if not better. Perhaps, because the fate of newspaper is more linked with the swings of stock market. And with little to cheer the markets, the Pink Papers registered a marginal drop. Financial Express, however, is an exception. Though on a small base of 60 thousand readers, it grew by 22%.
Where is this growth coming from?
A close look at the numbers reveals an interesting trend. Both Business Today and Financial Express have grown by acquiring younger readers. BT added close to a lakh additional readers by recording a 67% increase in readership amongst 15-24 Yrs age group. Similar are the figures for Financial Express.
"We have consciously tried to create a market amongst the youth. We want to handhold business management students into our fold. For example, every single business school in Mumbai is part of our ground initiatives. What has helped in acquiring young readers is the soaring aspiration level. Being a CEO is a conscious aspiration. Our communication featuring top CEOs like Narayan Moorthy of Infosys has successfully built on this aspiration," opines Ramakrishna R, Brand Manager, Financial Express.
While the focus on content and marketing has contributed to this success, relatively little business content on Television has helped. Are broadcasters reading the numbers?