Our loyalists might remember a story carried by us in Januray this year about Outlook and India Today both contemplating increasing the cover charges of the magazines from Rs 10 to Rs. 15. As business decisions go, Outlook increased the cover price to Rs. 15 in April this year. And now it's the turn of the leader to do the same.
Starting issue dated 2nd September which hit the stands on 26th August, India Today has increased the cover price of its leading English weekly to Rs. 15. The magazine according to sources has seen a surge in demand owing to the recent political and military events taking around the world and circulation being a not so profitable business, it made all the sense to ask reader to pay more.
How will this move impact the readership? Says Sanjay Malik, Associate Publisher, India Today, "The initial response is that it had no effect on sales. We communicated the decision to trade in early August and it became effective from the 26th August issue."
He went on to add " Infact our sales have gone up which might be due to the cover stories that we have done in last few issues and the contest that we announced in the issues. Our dealers are also happy since the commission payable to them has increased too."
According to Media watchers, a magazine's revenues are more balanced between advertising and subscription as against a newspaper's revenues, which are largely advertising driven. An increase in the circulation of the magazine doesn't translate into an increase in advertising revenues immediately, since there is a time lag between increase in circulation and the release of circulation data. In the interim an increase in circulation leads to higher costs without a proportional increase in advertising revenues. It might be to counter the effect of increase in circulation that the publication has decided to take this step.
Our readers would remember that Business Today, a publication from the Living Media group, had reduced its cover price to Rs. 10 last year. The initiative was aimed at increasing the accessibility of the magazine in order to push the circulation and readership higher. India Today, another Living Media publication, seems to be planning a different strategy to benefit from the increased demand.