‘Language Publishing: A trade backer’ took centrestage on day two of the Indian Magazine Congress, held in Mumbai on September 23. Industry experts were of the opinion that there was need to educate advertisers about the importance of language publishing and added that the growth for language publishing would continue to come from Tier I and Tier II cities.
The Indian Magazine Congress was organised by the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) in association with Worldwide Media (WWM). exchange4media Group (exchange4media.com, Pitch and impact) and Business Standard were the media partners.
The panelists on the session ‘Language Publishing: A trade backer’ included Anant Nath, Delhi Press; Mitrajit Bhattacharya, Chitralekha; Jwalant Swaroop, Lokmat; and Ashish Bagga of India Today. The session was moderated by B Srinivasan of Vikatan Group.
Srinivasan started off by saying, “Language publishing forms the backbone of India. It enjoys a very wide circulation and readership, which is quite apparent from the numbers.”
Giving an overview of the language publishing industry, Nath said, “Language magazines are trade backer. If you look at the NRS figures, language magazines account for 84 per cent of the titles, whereas English magazines are a mere 14 per cent. In terms of total readership, language magazines together have a readership of 83 per cent, while English magazines have 17 per cent.”
He asserted, “Language magazines provide sustainability to the magazine industry as a whole. There is huge scope for language magazines in the future. The English magazine space is getting crowded, while the regional space is getting thinner, leaving no investment for new titles. This poses a great risk. Growth has to be fuelled by language magazines. Too much investment is being done on English magazines as compared to language magazines.”
Speaking on Tier II and II cities, Bhattacharya said, “The moment you think of reaching out to people with language magazines, the growth for the same would come from the Tier II and II cities. Most publishers have realised this fact and a lot of reorientation is taking place in language publishing.”
Swaroop said, “Language newspapers have invented a wonderful model, andlanguage magazines also have the same kind of opportunities in front of them. I agree with what Nath said that the distributor would go where the margin is. If there is no market size, the distributor would lose interest.” He further said that language magazines were far cheaper than English magazines.
According to Bagga, “It’s a typical mindset of the advertisers that there is no money back guarantee if they advertise in language publishing, as compared to what English publishing can give. We need to educate advertisers and agencies about the importance of language publishing. A huge investment should be done on creating brands because there is a huge potential in the market. Time has come to monetise the system and to change the views of advertisers and agencies towards the language publishing.”
Nath observed, “In terms of brand building efforts, language publishing are lagging behind. Only Dainik Bhaskar and Jagran have been able to create successful brands.”
Bhattacharya said, “Each product has a specific market, and if the brand building is done in a way market is specified, then definitely we will achieve what we want.” He added, “First we have to do our job of bringing the quality and ambience to the product and then try to convince the client. In fact, it becomes easy to convince clients after the production quality is improved.”