Custom publishing has been there long and still attracts more and more players. A panel comprising Akila Urankar, President, Business Standard; Pradeep Gupta Managing Director, CyberMedia; Prakash Johari, CEO, Maxposure Media and Xavier Collaco, President, Media Transasia discussed more on how to drive this segment of magazines further towards growth at the sixth Indian Magazine Congress, organised by the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) in Mumbai on September 6-7, 2010. Mitrajit Bhattacharya, President & Publisher, Chitralekha Group, was the session moderator.
Bhattacharya commenced the session by explaining what ‘custom publishing’ meant, following which Urankar took the podium to continue further. Urankar pointed out that custom publishing was targeted more towards end consumers and building a relationship with the customers. She added, “One of the key challenges today is to make marketers see custom publishing as a marketing tool. Custom publishing forms only a small percentage and works on customised content projects, and the upscale of this segment will happen only when companies start paying the premium.”
According to Collaco, “The largest driver of growth is because this is virgin territory. In some other countries, there is an 18 per cent spend on custom publishing, while in India it is just 0.2 per cent, which means there is so much scope here.” He further said, “Content monetisation should be the first driver.”
Johari pointed out, “Most in custom publishing have started off with in-flight publishing, and although that is a way forward, the key to success is knowing the position from within.” He further said that technology was an important aspect in this field. “You need to see how forward looking you are to technology for better results in this field,” he added.
Gupta compared custom publishing to corporate communication and said, “Custom publishing is something like corporate communication or public relations, but is essentially rich content based communication.” He further said, “This is a business that is least sensitive to recession.”
Speaking on the business models, Bhattacharya remarked, “There are various business models which are paid for, and everything works in between.”
The panelists concluded the session by coming to an agreement that in the custom publishing field, domain knowledge was extremely critical, which also made the resources very important and that “resources need to be put behind it like it is one of your own magazines”.