The 10th Indian Magazine Congress in association with exchange4media took place on Wednesday. The fireside chat session was headed by Tarun Rai, CEO South Asia, J Walter Thompson and moderated by Pradeep Gupta, Chairman, CyberMedia.
After having spent 19 years with JWT, Rai moved to Worldwide Media in 2008 and it was only last year that he joined back J Walter Thompson. Commenting on being on both the sides of the fence and how does it feel to return, he said, “There was actually no particular reason why I had left JWT, there was never a dull moment then, it was actually my first love. When I had left advertising and joined Worldwide media, I thought I had left content, but I was amazed to find that content is everywhere. All the companies are today talking about content, the boundaries between content and advertising and branded advertising have disappeared. There is pressure on everyone to engage more with the consumers, so that the latter end up spending more time with the brand.”
Speaking about the areas where the industry is currently lacking today, Rai elaborated, “It is only once you step out of it that you realise how low the visibility of magazine is. I believe we are not effectively communicating the role of the medium. We are in the business of branded content for communities and not merely in the business of paper and ink. Also it is not that magazine as a brand is de-growing, but one format of magazine, which is probably print that is de-growing. There is sheer lack of knowledge and we don’t realise how flexible magazines are and what kind of things we can do for it.”
He further spoke about the need of celebrating creativity and great copy writing. According to him, it is important to celebrate and reward good work in this industry to encourage and bring more people into it. “Also don’t think magazine as just a printed paper but also look at what you can do with it. It is also incumbent on us, people who belong to this industry to communicate the message effectively. I think our job is to put two sets of community together, the community of our audience which is interested in a particular subject on the other hand, we have the industry, whether it is the stars, film makers or the choreographers. We have to just put them together on various platforms. The possibilities are immense, I think we need to go beyond the fact that we are just print, it will surely help to generate multiple revenue streams,” he cited.