BS Motoring (BSM), the automobile magazine published by Business Standard, has been acquired by the Delhi Press Group. Both the groups had been in talks since January this year and the deal was finalised on April 15, 2013 between Pares Nath, Chairman, Delhi Press and TN Ninan, Chairman, Business Standard. It is learnt that the deal is estimated to be valued at around Rs 10 crore.
The magazine will be published by Delhi Press from the May issue onwards.
The 17-year old magazine was initially started as a page exclusively devoted to automobiles in Business Standard paper in 1995. It was later turned into a standalone quarterly magazine in 1998 and a monthly in January 1999. In 1996, BS Motoring was the first auto magazine in the country to announce a ‘Car of the Year’ award.
Talking to exchange4media about the development, Anant Nath, Director, Delhi Press said, “BS had been trying to sell the magazine for the last many months, because I think they felt they were not able to focus on the magazine the way they would have wanted to. They are primarily a newspaper publishing house.”
Nath further said, “Business Standard had been thinking of finding a new home for the magazine and that’s when they contacted with us around the beginning of this year.”
“We feel that we can run the magazine far more profitably as a standalone magazine publishing house. For us, it is a new segment and we are always looking for an opportunity to increase our portfolio. We have been increasing our English magazines in the last few years,” Nath added.
Though Nath believes that currently the automobile sector is going through a slump, but in the long run India’s automobile industry is expected to grow at a very healthy rate. Commenting on the magazine, he said, “Though there are other automobile magazines such as ‘Auto Car’, ‘Overdrive’ and so on, BSM is a magazine that has always attracted a more evolved kind of auto enthusiast and auto lover and, therefore, the magazine always has had a more edgy stance towards auto journalism.”
In the coming few months, the magazine will undergo a radical change. Though the content will not be touched, the design will become more sophisticated and edgy. A new website is also in the pipeline, which will be more interactive with videos, photos and graphics.
Post the change, promotion will follow within the distribution network and a new name will be unveiled around August-September this year.
When asked about media reports that peg the value of the deal at around Rs 10 crore, Nath replied, “The media reports are not incorrect.”
Clarifying about the rumours surrounding Delhi Press buying ‘Man’s World’ and ‘Rolling Stone’ magazines, Nath said, “It’s true that ‘Man’s World’ has been looking for a buyer for the last six months and they have spoken to a lot of publishers, and we are one of the publishers.”
He added, “We are open to any kind of acquisition, given the strength of our publishing infrastructure and our distribution.”
The editorial and business teams of BS Motoring have been retained by Delhi Press and there will be some new hirings as well. Pablo Chatterji, who has been with the magazine for the last 10 years, will be the Managing Editor. He remarked, “It gives the team at BS Motoring immense pleasure to be accepted into the Delhi Press fold. With its immense experience and expertise in magazine publishing in India, we feel sure that the magazine is in good hands. In the same breadth, we would like to thank Business Standard for running the magazine for all these years, helping it become the most preferred magazine for auto lovers. We are confident that Delhi Press will provide Motoring with space, support and a creative mind space and thus take the brand to a new and cutting edge level. All of us in the team are looking forward to the exciting and challenging days ahead.”
Commenting on the switch, TN Ninan, Chairman, Business Standard said, “We have been proud to give birth to and develop BS Motoring over the past decade and more. Its further growth needs the synergies of an established magazine publishing house, whereas Business Standard is essentially a broadsheet group. Editorially, the magazine has a dedicated following that has been attracted by its writing style, which combines subject expertise with an edgy attitude, and passion for cars with a sense of fun. We are confident that the magazine will find a hospitable home in Delhi Press.”
For the record, Delhi Press publishes 34 magazines in nine languages, including ‘The Caravan’, ‘Woman’s Era’, ‘Grihshobha’, ‘Champak’, and ‘Saras Salil’, among others.
Recently, the group also launched two new children’s magazine in collaboration with the leading children’s magazine publisher of America, Highlights for Kids. The magazines, ‘Highlights Champs’ and ‘Highlights Genies’, were launched in April this year.