Aroon Purie, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, India Today Group and Chairman, FIPP, delivered the keynote address on Day One of the Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2009. On an upbeat note Purie said that the future was great for magazines. He also shared his ‘magic mantras’ for the growth of the magazine industry.
The two-day IMC 2009 is being held in the Capital on November 5-6. Worldwide Media is the presenting sponsor, while Chitralekha and Cannon are the associate sponsors. exchange4media Group (exchange4media.com, impact and Pitch) is the media partner.
Speaking at the Congress, Purie said that the Indian magazine had come a long way. “The magazine industry in India has been a part of the newspaper industry. It was only in the 70s and 80s that it started gaining a separate identity for itself,” he noted.
Praising the Government for liberalising magazines in 2002, Purie said, “This shows that our Information and Broadcasting Ministry is very open to ideas for the growth of the magazine industry. This led to the entry of foreign magazines in the country further leading to the growth of the industry.”
Speaking about the future of the magazine industry in India, Purie said, “The macro environment for magazines looks the most positive in India. Retail revolution will greatly increase the saliency of the magazine market.”
Commenting on how much the magazine business had been hit by the economic downturn, Purie said that last quarter of last year saw a fall of 30 per cent in the magazine industry. “Salaries were no longer sustainable in the downturn and were rationalised,” he added.
On a more positive note, he affirmed, “New launches in different genres – business, high fashion, lifestyle, technology, sports – were testimony to faith in the Indian magazine industry.”
Globally, too, the general trend was skewed towards magazines in a positive way, Purie said, while dishing out, what he called, some ‘Twitterable’ truths – 92 per cent of US adults read magazines; magazine subscriptions are on the rise; magazine launches surged 10 per cent in H1 of 2009; 75 per cent of US teens read magazine; top 25 magazines in the US reached more people that the top 25 TV shows, etc.
On the way forward, Purie shared his ‘magic mantras’ to facilitate the growth of the magazine industry:
Invest in quality content and the brand – content is the core of our business, no cutting down on editorial costs
Look for new revenues and profit streams – supplements, events, brand extensions
The future lies in delivering to multiple media platforms – Mobiles is a big grade opportunity India
Treat magazine brand as an engagement with readers
Time has come to be a frugal medium – process of cost control is a must
Tap the vast potential of India’s language market (As per IRS, of the top six magazines in India, five are in Indian languages)
Must increase cover prices to build a sustainable business model
Address the untapped potential of growth through international partnerships – great opportunities for quality international brands in India
Address opportunities of outsourcing – Get the world to start using all the talent which are here in India in non-IT work as well, such as editing, page layout, etc.
Educate potential magazine advertisers on the power of the medium – use research more and more to educate and engage the advertisers. FIPP can be a great help here
On a concluding note, Purie said that time had come to talk up the industry, instead of projecting the recessionary effects. “We have great journalistic talent, a large, loyal audience, and new media, which is an opportunity and not a threat – all these make for a great future for magazines in India,” he asserted.