It is a man’s world or so it seems for the Indian publishing groups. Soon after men’s magazine ‘Maxim’ hit the stands in India, becoming the second men’s magazine after ‘Man’s World’, and the debut of Malayala Manorama Group’s ‘Man’ a fortnight back, India Today is all set to bring the fourth men’s title in India with ‘Men’s Health’.
Confirming the development, Pavan Varshnei, Publishing Director-Business Group, said that the magazine would be launched by May-June, 2006. DNA’s Jamal Shaikh has been roped in as the Editor of the magazine. Prior to DNA, Shaikh was with The Times of India, mainly covering the entertainment genre at both the media houses.
Speaking on why Shaikh fit the bill for a magazine of this nature, Varshnei said, “‘Men’s Health’ is a men’s lifestyle magazine and Jamal Shaikh, with his body of work at Bombay Times and DNA, is a name synonymous with lifestyle/entertainment journalism. He also has a keen interest in health, fitness, sport, and has been exposed to international media. He brings with him over 12 years of experience, as such, he would be the perfect person to put together the Indian edition of the world’s largest men’s magazine, ‘Men’s Health’.”
Given that the space already has three players, how does India Today propose to make ‘Men’s Health’ a differentiated product? “‘Men’s Health’ is famous the world over for being a magazine that helps men enrich their lives,” replied Varshnei. “While other men’s magazines go the popular way and bank heavily on provocative pictures of scantily clad women, MH aims at packing the punch by turning into a service Bible for men in the fields of style, fashion, relationships, sex, health, sport, fitness, nutrition, food, weight loss, adventure, gadgets and gizmos. It’s a real men’s magazine that has the babes and everything else that men like and do,” he added.
Varshnei is clear that the Indianness quotient would be a prime focus area. He stated, “The success of the concept lies in the fact that for years, international editions have been flying off the shelves of news stands who stock international publications and has also spurned other low quality impersonations. It’s about time Indian men get a magazine of their own – one that they could take home to their wives and kids, talk about over protein shakes at the gym or simply, spend a weekend with – and miss nothing.”
Speaking on the revenue format of the magazine, he said, “There is ample scope for innovations. ‘Men’s Health’ doesn't have sponsored sections, but an engaging editorial, and marketers looking at reaching the affluent discerning urban male and female audiences will find the magazine as an attractive vehicle to reach their target audience. Also, it will be available on the stands and we expect a lot of retail pick up and will also build a strong subscription base as well.”
He further divulged that an “aggressive” marketing campaign would mark the launch of the magazine.