Media inflation is a reality and more indications of that surface everyday in the industry. Recent additions on that front are the decisions of Indian Today and Outlook to hike their ad rates from April 2006. Both publications are confident that the rate increase would be accepted in the right stride by the industry.
India Today Publications are changing the ad rates of the India Today Megabrand, necessarily implying a change across the group, which comprises India Today (English), India Today (Hindi), India Today (Tamil), India Today (Telugu), India Today (Malayalam) and India Today International.
Speaking on the reasons for the increase, Ashish Bagga, Publishing Director, India Today Group, said, “Our circulation has increased and so has our readership. Based on NRS, the India Today Megabrand has a readership of 20.1 million. India Today English alone has a readership of 6.2 million. We believe that the value add we provided to our readers in terms of new offering and sections in our editorials has been received successfully.”
Elaborating further, he said, “The simplest indication is the increase in circulation despite the increase we brought in the cover price four months back. Our internal research also shows that readers place significant value in the product. Given this feedback from all quarters, we took a decision to increase the ad rates.”
It must be noted here that India Today was one of the magazines that moved out from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) two years back citing the reason that the ABC had failed to realise that some of its rules were too rigid for magazines and that magazines as a print product needed to be treated differently from other print products like newspapers. Another noteworthy point here is that unlike the National Readership Survey (NRS), the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) hasn’t shown an increase in India Today’s readership.
Reacting to this, Bagga said, “Every other indication – internal and external – has kept us on an upswing. Barring any technical glitches, I am very confident that even the IRS would reflect the increase that we are seeing. I would be very surprised otherwise.”
Commenting on advertiser reaction, he said, “For the advertiser, one thing that is important is that we have to be growing in the relevant target and that is a definite facet of our growth. Also, the advertiser is looking for cost effectiveness. The rates haven’t been increased in the margin of the increase in readership and that means that he is still getting better RoIs (return on investment). Surely they would get better value for money had we not increased the rates, but end of the day, we are running a business too.”
A point that Outlook’s President and Publisher, Maheshwar Peri, seconds. “This was expected because the year gone by has been a difficult one in terms of costs. Newsprint has gone up, there is prevalent media inflation and to survive all of this, there is no choice but to increase ad rates. Also, you mustn’t forget that rates are being increased across the board, which necessarily means that whoever we deal with has also increased their rates in some form,” he said.
Outlook’s rates increase from April 3, 2006, which is the first issue of the new fiscal. The percentage increase would be in the vicinity of almost 8-9 per cent. For India Today, the increase has been different for the various brands. For instance, on the average, where India Today English has increased by 7 per cent, Hindi has increased by 9 per cent, and Telugu by 14 per cent.
“There are various points that have been considered to arrive at the revised rates. The average increase in the different products, range from 7-14 per cent. We have looked at factors like how much have the brand grown, their market shares, and so on,” explained Bagga.