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German publishers’ body visits India, says talks with India Today, Outlook encouraging

06-October-2005
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German publishers’ body visits India, says talks with India Today, Outlook encouraging

A delegation of 23 heads and CEOs of different publishing houses from Germany, representing the German Magazine Publishers’ Association (VDZ) is on a tour to India from October 3 to October 7 to understand the Indian publishing market and explore possibilities for JVs and collaborations with Indian publishers.

Starting with their engagements from New Delhi, the group met publishers of India Today, Outlook, CyberMedia and McMillan Publishing in the first two days. On Wednesday, the group also met Delhi Press and Business World for exploring possible areas of cooperation.

From October 6, the group will visit Mumbai, where they will have discussions with Indian Express Business Publication Division, NextGen Publishing, Infomedia India and Indian Book Distributer (IBD). They will also be meeting with ad agency O&M and research and audit firm KPMG to have a different perspective of the Indian magazine publishing market.

Speaking to Exchange4media, Wolfgang Furstner, President, VDZ said, “German publishers are very much interested in exploring new markets, that’s why we are looking at India and China, which are growing at a rapid pace. The purpose of this visit is to get information about the new markets, to network, and to learn the way publishers do business in this part of the world. Two-third of the Indians belong to the younger generation and holds tremendous opportunity for the growth of print publications in India.”

On the outcome of the discussions that they had with the Indian publishers, Furstner said, “Though nothing concrete has come out, every partner that we met here expressed interest for cooperation. And then the motive of the visit is only to open doors,” he added.

Dr Torsten-Joern Klein, member of the executive board of one of the largest publishing houses in Germany, Gruner, said, ”We don’t have interest in the news magazines sector. We understand that India as a democracy has every right to protect this sector from outsiders. In Germany, too, we won’t welcome an American company to publish a big news magazine in our country. We are rather interested in exploring opportunities both in consumer magazines as well as B2B magazines. There is huge potentiality for magazines in areas like women, popular science, parenting, interior design, etc.”

When asked whether it meant that he was interested in niche magazines, Dr Klein said, “I don’t believe these are niche magazines. What is niche in India today, tomorrow it will be big.”

About the discussions that they had with India Today and Outlook, Dr Klein said, “We all are amazed by the personality of Aroon Purie. Interestingly, Outlook made a very impressive presentation. We are quite overwhelmed by the sort of editorial content that they have.”

When asked about the peculiarity that they found in the Indian market, Lars Joachim Rose, MD of a family owned publishing house, Klambt, said, “In India, we found everybody giving so much emphasis on readership survey figures, but in Germany nobody cares about it. In Germany, publishers and advertisers are only concerned with circulation figures. We have a body called IVW, same as ABC in India, which carries out surveys and gives circulation figures. The figures that it provides are considered sacrosanct by the publishers and are the most authentic data for the advertisers too. Anybody found playing around with these numbers are subjected to two years’ suspension during which it faces great humiliation.”

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