Haymarket Publishing of the UK formally entered the Indian market early this month in a 50:50 joint venture with Sorabjee Automotive Communications (SAC), publishers of Autocar India. The new entity will be called Haymarket SAC Publishing India Pvt. Ltd.
Confirming the development to exchange4media, Hormazd Sorabjee, Publisher and Editor of Autocar India, said, “Yes, the 50:50 joint venture was formalised earlier this month. Haymarket is the UK’s largest publishing group with some 130 magazine titles, and they have been keen on India for quite sometime.”
When asked, Sorabjee expressed his inability to give out the level of investment made by Haymarket “as certain procedural details are still to be worked out”.
The joint venture has come into being, by coincidence, in the same month that Autocar India completes five years of publishing, an event that it has celebrated by putting out a mega September issue of 378 pages. Though the FIPB approval came in the first quarter of this year, it was only a few days back that the JV formalised its new name.
Sorabjee also disclosed that his company will launch its second title, “Autocar Professional”, in November this year. “It will be a B2B product targetted at industry professionals, suppliers, etc. We will start it off as a monthly, but are looking at making it a fortnightly in course of time.” Murali Gopalan, formerly of the Financial Express and Auto Monitor, will be the Editor of Autocar Professional. “It has been entirely conceived by SAC and all editorial content will be from us,” Sorabjee added.
Would the entry of Haymarket mean any change for Autocar India? Answered Sorabjee, “Haymarket has a rich heritage in the magazine business. They are great in design, and have a strong credibility. So our product can only get better with their coming in.”
Sorabjee explained that Autocar, which has been published in the UK for the last 80 years, has evolved “an excellent and highly respected road testing methodology for cars. The road testing concept in Autocar India will only get strengthened in future.”
Though the turnover of the closely held Haymarket Publishing is not known, it is estimated at approximately 300-million pound sterling. Haymarket Publishing is Britain’s largest privately owned publishing company. It publishes a wide range of popular enthusiast magazines, from motoring to soccer, and is a leading publisher of specialist magazines for various trades, businesses and professions. It is owned by Lord Michael Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK.
Among some of Haymarket’s motoring titles are ‘What Car?’, ‘Motor Sport’, ‘Autosport’, ‘F1 Racing’ (the world’s largest selling Formula One magazine) and the LAT Archive (the world’s largest motoring picture library). Haymarket also publishes titles like ‘Media’, ‘Campaign’, ‘Marketing’ and ‘PRWeek’ in various markets of the world. Incidentally, ‘Media’ magazine in India is represented by Rohinton Maloo’s Cutting Edge Media for advertising sales and subscriptions, whereas Bennett, Coleman’s Brand Equity team supplies India-specific editorial content.
With yet another foreign publishing company entering India, it’s interesting times for the publishing industry and professionals.