The day two of INMA, 4th Annual South Asia Conference held an intriguing ‘brainsnacks’ session. Speakers like Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India; Anurag Batra, Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group and Salil Tandon, National Head and Editor, City Plus, staged presentations of their respective groups and shared what had contributed to the success stories.
Autocar India was launched in the country as a joint venture with Haymarket. Haymarket Media Group is Britain’s largest privately owned media group. Autocar was the first ever car magazine in the world and was published in Britain in 1895.
In his presentation, Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India, shared with the audience why his magazine was one of the leading publications in this niche segment. He said, “One of the toughest decisions we made was to have no advertisements on the right hand side of the page. Our readers and the content was the most important for us. For this same reason, we had to turn down several advertisers. Also, we have decided not to do any cover-page innovations as the readers wrote to us that they do not like it.”
Sorabjee enumerated how the Autocar road tests and reviews were one of the most important parts of the magazine. They have gone to the extent of buying the car altogether, when the manufacturer of the car refused a test drive. The brand extension of Autocar today leads to road travels, motor sport, road safety, Autocar Awards, Autocar performance shows, etc. Speaking about newer media forms, Sorabjee said that Autocar would seek to have a strong online presence, however, their main focus would still remain print. He also pointed out how the content syndication of Autocar with Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Telegraph, Bloomberg, etc., had created strong partnerships.
Anurag Batra, Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group, in his stirring presentation drew a vivid portrayal of the exchange4media Group enmeshed in media, marketing and advertising. He said, “Ten years back, when exchange4media was conceived, the idea was to build a market place where media, marketing and advertising could interact. But for the first few years we were not very successful. Perhaps we were way ahead of our time.”
Today, exchange4media has successfully become a platform where the advertising, media and marketing industry can find themselves at one place. “Why exchange4media has flourished is because of its un-biased journalism and neutral coverage. We are equidistant from each and everyone in this industry... We started off by providing information, but the essence of our journey has been from imparting information of this industry to imparting knowledge about it,” he explained.
Batra also informed that exchange4media last year had tied up with Advertising Age and was now its partner in India. He further said that over the years, exchange4media had entered the field of events and now had several high value properties. exchange4media Group has its online avatar and also has several magazines such as ‘impact’, ‘Pitch’, ‘Realty Plus’ and ‘Franchise Plus’.
exchange4media, informed Batra, had also invested in the Indian Media Agency Report. The year 2010 will be the second year of its publication, which is a comprehensive work on advertising. Batra pointed out that television was the only platform that exchange4media had not ventured into, but expressed the hope that that field would not be left untouched for long.
Replying to a question on how the business was built, Batra said, “We are first generation entrepreneurs as no one had taught us how to do business... We experimented, worked hard and learnt. The market is growing and so will we.”
City Plus is a unique property from the house of Jagran Group. Salil Tandon, National Head and Editor, City Plus, elaborated, “The idea of City Plus was conceived when we realised that the mainline dailies were not covering significant community issues.”
The newspaper thereby satisfied the local needs of the society who yearned for community based content. The newspaper saw a market in the micro-level society. The newspaper today is available in several cities and targets SEC AB homes where this newspaper is delivered. City Plus has not opted for the normal distribution channel of hawkers to distribute. Rather, they have their own dedicated team, which goes from door to door to distribute the newspaper. It follows a single window distribution model.
The newspaper is delivered free of cost and hence is dependent on advertisers. The newspaper is an ad platform for the SME sector and the local retain enterprises. The newspaper gives opportunity to them to advertise, who otherwise would not be able to advertise on a national newspaper.