Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief and Chairman, India Today Group, takes up the mantle of Chairman of Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) at a not so happy time for magazines – faced with the effects of the global slowdown and declining readership. The IRS 2009 R1 data throws up dismal numbers for magazines, though it is understood that the fault lies in the incorrect methodology of IRS for calculating readership of magazines.
Yet Purie remains upbeat about the medium, and in an exclusive conversation with exchange4media explains why.
Said Purie, “I believe that magazines as brands, whether online or offline, can innovate, so they continue to engage and excite. I believe the competition is not between magazines and the digital media and newspapers or television, but between business models. It depends on how we leverage our brands through new platforms, forge alliances and discover new revenue streams.”
The news that India will host the World Magazine Congress for the first time in 2011 has brought cheer to the Indian magazine industry. Commenting on some of the issues and topics that he would like to be brought up for discussion at the World Magazine Congress in India, Purie said, “I would like to see a stronger bonding and sharing of information and expertise between publishers in the developing countries with those in the developed, especially in India. Also, there is urgency on how we address the digital opportunity. FIPP has been very active in promoting conferences dealing with such subjects. Given the present day challenges, these efforts need to be further enhanced.”
He further said, “We all seem to be in a dark tunnel, but I see light at the end of it and it is not an oncoming train. History shows that innovation follows adversity. We must never forget our outstanding of brand equity and our capacity for creativity. There will be restructuring, but it will not be the end.”
On being the Chairman of FIPP, Purie said, “I joined the FIPP board nine years ago. It has been one of the great experiences of my life to meet fellow publishers and see them selflessly work for the common cause of FIPP, of sharing best practices and learnings, of promoting the effectiveness of magazines to advertisers, introducing training programmes and linking magazine publishers from all over the world. The camaraderie and the sense of community amongst the Board members, many of whom are strong competitors, have to be seen to be believed. I feel privileged to be part of all this.”
“I realise I have become Chairman of FIPP at a time when magazine publishers are facing unprecedented challenges. As if the digital challenge was not enough to deal with, we now have been hit by a horrific global downturn in the last two years – a sort of double whammy,” he noted.
He further observed, “The downturn of the world economy has shown that our destinies are more connected than we ever thought. I am a great believer in global trends. What happens somewhere will sooner or later happen elsewhere with local variations – good and bad. This also means that what is acceptable in some parts of the world will also be acceptable in other parts of the world. There is no better evidence of this than the boom in the international licensing of magazines that we have witnessed.”
(The complete interview of Aroon Purie appears in the next issue of ‘impact’.)
Aroon Purie announced as Chairman of FIPP
The World Magazine Congress to be held in India for the first time in 2011