Day one of the Indian Magazine Congress 2008 saw the print industry deliberate on magazines building communities. Industry leaders stated that magazines had a strong role to play in brand building. The day also saw experts discuss ‘Magazine: Value and Wealth creation’, where it was stated that regional language magazines continued to dominate the market.
The two-day Indian Magazine Congress is being held in Mumbai on September 22-23 and is being organised by the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) in association with WWM, Worldwide Media. exchange4media Group (exchange4media.com, Pitch and impact) and Business Standard are the media partners.
Magazines and brand building
The panelists on the session ‘Building a brand and the role of magazines’ included Sam Balsara, Chairman and MD, Madison World; Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal; NP Sathyamurthy, Joint VP, LMG; Pradeep Srivastava, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Cellular; LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research; and Girish Shah, Head-Branding, Reliance ADAG. Meenakshi Madhavi, MD, Spatial Access, was the moderator.
“Magazines are here to stay,” was Girish Shah’s opening statement. He added, “Magazines bring a lot of credibility to a campaign.”
Agreeing with Shah, Balsara said that the percentage growth for magazines was higher than for newspapers. “However, the drop in average issue readership is high,” he added. NP Sathyamurthy, however, pointed out that the web was catching up. Pradeep Srivastava felt that there would be change and that changes were constant. “Magazines are the most powerful to build communities,” he pointed out.
According to LV Krishnan, magazines were like ketchup. “It is filled with goodness and richness and this overtakes the slowness. Magazines are the only ones that bring about community segments and it is the future,” he affirmed.
On whether spends on magazines had increased, Balsara commented, “We have been using multimedia magazines as one of our moves at Madison.” Shashi Sinha observed that there was a biased towards print. He said, “We keep tracking print because of the clients.”
According to Krishnan, “Magazines cannot be looked as secondary, as it is done most often.” To this Balsara said that as per TAM data, 3,200 advertisers used magazines exclusively. “Advertisers are finding reasons why they should advertise on magazines. They find that their needs are met,” he noted.
According to Sathyamurthy, “There is a change, but it is either stagnating or declining. Many magazine marketers haven’t gone beyond vanilla ads”
Regional language magazines dominate market
Later in the day, Mukesh Jain of Ernst & Young, while delivering a keynote address on ‘Magazine: Value and wealth creation’, said, “The Indian magazine industry is the fastest growing in the world. It was estimated at $409 million in 2007, representing a y-o-y growth of 15 per cent. On the other hand, global magazine publishing industry grew 3 per cent to reach $103 billion in 2007. Strong historical growth attributable to increased advertising and subscription rates. Advertising is the main contributor to the magazine industry with a current share of 74 per cent.”
He further said that the Indian print industry – fragmentation to consolidation – was expected to reach $5.2 nillion by 2012 from the current $3.2 billion. He also noted that regional players transitioning to national players could be seen across genres and geographies. “Most newspapers have adopted an ‘almost-free’ copy model with advertising heavily subsidising loss of circulation revenues. Leading print players enjoy revenue growth rates of more than 30 per cent. Indian print media has the largest share in the Indian advertising pie,” Jain said.
He further said, “Regional language magazines continue to dominate the market in terms of readership.”
Speaking on funding option, Jain said, “Equity funding options such as IPOs, private equity, and strategic investor are available today. Choosing the right option involves addressing the concerns and expectations of the promoters and potential investors.”