The wait for the launch of Forbes India is over. After forging an alliance in December 2007, Network18 and Forbes Media LLC launched the Indian edition of Forbes on May 21, 2009. Steve Forbes, Chairman & CEO, Forbes Media LLC & Editor-in-Chief, Forbes, and Raghav Bahl, Founder and Editor, Network18, launched this “360-degree” magazine that would follow the international Forbes magazine motto of the Capitalist Tool.
While the launch affirms the faith that a media company such as Network18 has shown in the magazine domain, it is significant also because Forbes India is the first Indian edition of any foreign news or business publication.
Speaking at the launch, Forbes said, “Forbes is about nurturing entrepreneurial capitalism and Network18 is itself a good example of entrepreneurship. We are excited to be working with one of India’s leading media groups, Network18, as our partner.”
In a prepared statement, Forbes was quoted as saying, “I doubt there’s been a better time to launch Forbes India. In the midst of economic doom and gloom, India’s story is one of resilience in adversity and optimism for the future.”
Raghav Bahl added: “The Indian media landscape has had quite a few inflection points in its history. These are points when the rules of the game change and a new language of content emerges and the landscape alters fundamentally. We believe that this will be that inflection point for business coverage in the country – a point, which will redefine in India how wealth creation will be understood, how business leaders will choose to lead, and indeed how business will be done. At Network18, we’re proud to bring home to you the community that gave birth to business media as we know today, the community called Forbes, the only way the best in business have kept score for over 90 years.”
A step forward in Network18’s print ambitions
The announcement of the alliance with Forbes in 2007 had reiterated Network18’s interest in the print domain. Some of the other steps that the company took included establishing Infomedia18, forming a partnership with Jagran Prakashan for the launch of business paper in regional languages, and pursuing a relation with Pearson Group UK with the intention to launch a business daily.
The plans slowed down in the wake of the global downturn to the extent that in September 2008, Network18 put the Jagran18 business plans on hold. The launch of Forbes India is seen as a positive step for the Group in the direction of strengthening its footprint in the print domain.
In an official release, Haresh Chawla, Group CEO, Network18, stated: “Forbes is an ideal partner for us as we expand our competencies into the print medium, and thus strengthen our position as one of India’s leading full play media conglomerates. India’s readership potential is yet to be fully tapped and as the market evolves, credible and strong brands will succeed in the print space. With our experience in business media as well also our ability to deploy global media brands successfully in the Indian market, we are confident of an enriching association with Forbes. We see a lot of opportunity for value creation in this partnership by unleashing cross platform synergies and developing a roster of market leading offerings in the coming years with subsequent launches of ForbesLife and ForbesWoman. The addition of Forbes will further energise our business portfolio, which already commands leadership through CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, Newswire18 and web offerings such as moneycontrol.com and indiaearnings.com.”
William Adamopoulos, President and Publisher, Forbes Asia, commented: “We have been reporting on India and its heroes of capitalism for many years, and it is very exciting for us to partner with the accomplished media entrepreneurs at Network18 to bring the Forbes brand and style of journalism to India. Forbes India complements and builds upon our existing pan-Asian network of Forbes Asia, Forbes China, Forbes Korea and Forbes Nihonban, making Forbes the largest circulating business publication brand in Asia-Pacific.”
Team Forbes India
Lead by Raghav Bahl and Haresh Chawla, Team Forbes India would see Network18’s Group COO, B Sai Kumar, don the additional hat of Publisher, Forbes India. Ajay Chacko is CEO, Forbes India, while Anil Uniyal, who is COO, Network18 Media, is also the Business Director of Forbes India.
Along with Senthil Chengalvarayan, President & Editorial Director, TV18 Business Media, Indrajit Gupta, a former BCCL hand, will lead the magazine as Editor; Charles is the Executive Editor, while Shishir Prasad is the Deputy Editor.
In a press note, Sai Kumar said, “The partnership with Forbes is yet another testament to the immense trust and ability that Network18 enjoys with its international partners. The addition of Forbes to our portfolio adds the vital dimension of the print medium to it, and along with our other leading business brands like CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, Moneycontrol.com and Newswire18, enables us to explore cross-platform synergies for both, our content as well as our advertisers to use the power of television, print and web together.”
To further complement the magazine’s offerings, the Forbes India Show will be a half-hour weekly programme and air on CNBC-TV18. The show will see Chengalvarayan in conversation with business leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs and top financial executives to bring together opinions on issues and policies that impact the economy, and also have a wide array of business content ranging from leadership, economy and finance to international business and entrepreneurship.