Kolkata-based Ananda Bazaar Patrika Group’s business magazine, Businessworld, has just effected a value correction. Five years ago, Businessworld successfully broke through the clutter in the business magazine segment by turning itself into a weekly at a throwaway price of Rs 5. Now, a fortnight ago, Businessworld pushed itself back to the Rs 10 level.
Sandeep Ghosh, Vice-president, ABP, who looks after The Telegraph and Businessworld, told exchange4media, “We took a conscious decision to grow in this category. Working in close tandem with Mckinsey, we found that it was time for a value-correction. A Rs 10 cover price truly reflects the personality of Businessworld. Five years ago, we had changed the price and periodicity by making it a weekly magazine at Rs 5. The whole idea was and is to expand the category of readership in this genre of magazines.”
With the cover price going up, will the magazine carry more for the reader? “We continue to add something new or the other like 'The MARKETING WHITEBOOK’ and other serious supplements, in order to create a more comprehensive business offering,” said Ghosh.
At Rs 5, Businessworld did churn up the business magazine market with its circulation shoring up to 1.46 lakh copies. But then, media analysts believed that this increase in readership was achieved at the cost of revenue earnings. Be that as it may, Businessworld forced Business Today, a Living Media publication, to cut its price from Rs 15 to Rs 10 two years ago. Now, with both carrying the same cover price, it may be an interesting circulation battle.
Another significant factor is that Business Today withdrew from ABC July-December 2003. According to industry sources, Business Today will have to wait for eighteen months before it can boast of ABC figures. That gives ample time to Businessworld to test the waters at the higher cover price!
Tony Joseph, Editor, Businessworld, was enthusiastic about the price hike, when contacted by exchange4media. “We see this as a price correction. Also, the important thing is that Businessworld has grown tremendously in the last few years. Today, it is the largest read English business weekly in Asia. Its content commands respect amongst business decision makers.” He added, “In terms of numbers we have been the leaders and will continue to be so.”
Joseph attributes the success of Businessworld to “an expansion in the frontiers of journalism”, both in terms of look and trend. “When we wrote about BPO way back, we wrote about the future. We are at the forefront in news trends. We are very global in our outlook.” He added, “The price hike is not a critical factor. We are supremely confident that our content will continue to be the best and make the reader come back for more.”
Can the hike affect the buying choice of a reader? Said Kiran Khallap, Co-founder, Chlorophyll, “I don’t think that should effect the circulation. But, yes, what has to be seen is whether the fringe buyer still goes for BW and also if the loyal readers ignore the price hike.”
Said Basabdutta Chowdhuri, General Manager, Madison, Delhi, “The price hike by Businessworld will make a difference depending upon the circulation split. If they have a strong subscription base, up to 70 per cent, then it won’t be affected. But newsstand sales may witness a dip.”