‘The Week’, the newsweekly from Malyalam Manorma, has played a direct hit over competitor Outlook via its latest advertisement. The ad strategy aims to differentiate ‘The Week’ from ‘Outlook’ on the premise of price (‘The Week’ costs Rs.10 and ‘Outlook’ costs Rs.15).
Commenting on their latest ad, says Varghese Chandy, GM Marketing, The Week, “All three magazines, India Today, Outlook and The Week, provide the same content. So if the reader is getting the same content and quality everywhere, why should he bother to pay Outlook a premium of 50% on cover price?”
Maheshwer Peri, Publisher, Outlook, justifying the cover price says, “We are looking at a product of the mind. The quality of such a product holds greater significance for a reader rather than the price. Outlook is a premium magazine. Quality wise, if you look at our newsprint, our size etc., we are superior to ‘The Week’. And the wordage is definitely less in The Week, which means that they are lacking in terms of content too. And with such quality, you cannot expect the readers to buy. After all, you can make consumers sample your product twice, but ultimately the consumers seek quality. And our quality is proved by the fact that despite our increased price, our circulation figures did not drop.”
Responding to Peri’s comments, says Chandy, “Its not the wordage that matters. Lesser number of words does not mean a qualitatively inferior product. Moreover, the trend is now towards a sleeker, thinner look, which the newspapers are following too and the readers are definitely finding better. Looks apart, the readers are getting the same content. Price hence becomes an obvious issue.”
With both sides tightly holding on to their viewpoints, bitterness is inevitable. But in the process India Today seems to be the one, which is sitting pretty.
To deliver the end piece in the debate, chuckles Peri, “What did they mean when they said, ‘This week it pays to change your outlook’? Are they changing the price next week!”
It seems the battle of catch-lines is not going to end soon this season.