Bringing the advertiser’s perspective to the magazine story, Lynn de Souza, Chairperson and CEO, Lintas Media Group, presented a Masterclass session on ‘What advertisers want from Magazine Brands? ROI in 2011’. de Souza started her presentation by citing some key figures – the Indian magazine publishing sector is 4 per cent of the media industry (PwC figures) and there has been a de-growth by 11 per cent and has declined to Rs 18.6 billion in 2009. Print ad revenue registered a 3 per cent de-growth in 2009 and magazines accounted for 7 per cent of the print revenue. Magazine readership stood at 82 million and commands a readership share of 25 per cent, however, the share in ad revenue is just 7 per cent.
de Souza also pointed out that there had been a consistent drop in overall magazine readership, and in the past four years, there had been a 22 per cent drop in readership in general. She also mentioned that the drop in AIR (29 per cent) was higher than the claimed readership (22 per cent). The highest readership decline was seen in regional magazines (42 per cent), while English magazines saw the lowest dip of 29 per cent. Youth accounted for almost 50 per cent of magazine readership; but, readership was declining across all age groups.
International niche magazines were likely to see a quantum growth as there had been 25-plus international magazines that had been launched in the past three years. Newspaper supplements were also becoming magazine replacements.
de Souza shared some data from an internal study called ‘Connexions’, which was conducted involving 9,300 respondents in 17 cities, measuring 78 touchpoints and 100 product categories, and magazines was one such category.
The study states that magazines have the ability to engage readers and deliver higher attention and engagement and sampling triggering purchase intent. She stressed that this industry should tap into the vast potential of the Indian language magazine market and added that retail revolution would increase the saliency of magazines in the market place. The players should build e-magazine formats too and engage and educate advertisers, just like they did with the readers, de Souza added.
Following this presentation, there was a panel discussion involving industry stalwarts such as LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research; Ashish Bhasin, Chairperson, India and CEO, Southeast Asia, Aegis Media; R Gowthaman, Managing Director, Mindshare; and Debasis Mitra, Director, Marketing & Sales, Mercedes-Benz, along with de Souza. The panel was moderated by Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media.
Tarun Rai started off by asking the panellists how the players could increase the share of the medium in the next few years. Debasis Mitra spoke about how 60-65 per cent of Mercedes-Benz’s marketing budget was for ATL activities, of which only 10 per cent was for print. He added that the company would invest in media that gave them return on investment.
R Gowthaman of Mindshare spoke about Hindustan Unilever, one of the biggest FMCG companies in India, and said that they demarcated 15 per cent of their total marketing budget for the print medium. He further pointed out that the issue that this industry faced was three-fold – there was no push, there was no pull and there were no enablers.
Rai then moved on to talking about how there was no perfect measurement systems in place for this industry.
Commenting on this, TAM’s LV Krishnan said that magazines could take subscribers’ profile data and club that with the existing measurement system to get a deeper understanding of the consumers.
Rai also wanted to know how media planners could be persuaded to look at the qualitative aspect of this medium. Vizeum Media’s Ashish Bhasin remarked that publishers were less passionate about their products than they used to be 20 years ago. He also mentioned that the magazine industry was caught between the newpaper industry and the television industry, and instead of taking the good points from these industries, they were taking the bad points.
When Rai asked how publishers could persuade advertisers to invest in the digital space as far as magazines were concerned, de Souza replied that initially, it would be a good idea to offer them a bundle of print and online space.
Citing some figures, Krishnan pointed out that 85 per cent of the innovations happening in print were executed in the magazine space, which proved that people had not lost faith in this medium yet.
On a closing note, Rai asked all the panelists to point out the one thing they felt that publishers should focus on. Mitra said that would be to think of a big idea and take it forward and monetise it.
de Souza said that the magazine industry should set the IRS aside and invest on capturing the quantitative and intangible effect it had on its readers. Gowthaman took that thought forward and said that readership was a surrogate to engagement and that one shouldn’t go after the surrogate option and focus on getting the consumers engaged.
According to Bhasin, magazines should do what they were best at, which was engaging consumers. He added that these days, magazines were getting caught up in gimmicks rather than focusing on engagement.
Krishnan advised the magazines to look at research from an insight perspective and delve into their own database as well.