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Nick Carugati

Director of International Advertising and Brand Partnerships, Time Out International
| 08 Oct 2010

"Same way the books won't die because you have an e-reader, magazines wouldn't die because of electronic media. People still want to hold a paper magazine in their hand. I think that the idea of the demise of print is nothing but a fallacy. I think it wise to adapt to where the market is going. But I think there is a core, and there will always be a core.Nick Carugati

At Time Out International Nick Carugati is entrusted with the responsibility of developing multi country, multi media advertising partnerships with brands. Time Out Group has 33 city magazines, 55 websites and publishes over 100 guides across the world. Carugati was previously the Founder and Managing Partner, Branded Entertainment. There, he was responsible for brand involvement and activation in content feature films, TV, web, events. Carugati has also worked for SVP Global Advertising FBC (Fact Based Communications) and handled all commercial activity for FBC, a Rome based production company. There he developed sponsorship partnerships with Malaysian Tourist Board, Nokia, Visa, Sun Microsystems. He worked alongside the International Herald Tribune in developing cross platform advertising opportunities. At EuroNews Television Carugati worked as an International Sales Director. He held the same profile at BBC World Europe and was a part of the launch team for BBC World Europe. He has also worked with IP Network-TSMS as International Sales Director.

Time Out is an international brand, that for over four decades has provided inspirational, authoritative and impartial advice and information about the world's leading cities. Time Out has inspired readers and championed the best of independent urban culture the world over. The Time Out Group's core businesses are located in London, New York and Chicago where they are the leading source of information for residents and visitors.

Neelam Kapoor, Vice-President and Publisher, Paprika Media is spearheading the business and operations of Time Out portfolio and the Custom Media solutions including events and publishing in India for over 5 years now. She is a post graduate in marketing from Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai; Neelam has over 16 years of experience in fields ranging from education and ITES, banking and insurance, BPO and media (Publishing). Through her stints in organizations like Apple Industries, APTECH, GTL Limited, Customer One LLC, ESSAR and now at Paprika Media Pvt. Ltd., she has developed her core competencies in the business areas of sales and marketing, business development, branding and communications. Paprika Media Pvt. Ltd., (Part of Essar Global Limited a diversified business corporation) is a dynamic publishing house and a credible source of information and facilitator. Having been in the field since 2004, Paprika has been providing cultural and custom media solutions through consumer and custom publishing, on-ground events and online.

Paprika Media has fortnightly editions of Time Out in the major cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru and a monthly edition in Pune.

Nick Carugati and Neelam Kapoor talked candidly to Akash Raha of exchange4media about Time Out and other global magazine trends.

Q. Time Out recently completed six years in India with its Mumbai edition. Internationally as well, Time Out has done very well, bringing out newer editions even as other players were still healing their wounds from recession. How has the journey been so far?

Nick- If you see Time Out international and its history, we have grown exponentially. In the last six years we would have certainly added 20-25 newer cities. We now know that the growth and appetite of the brand is very strong. Its iconic and respected brand wherever you go. People are buying the magazine because of the superior editorial content. We have stuck to the urban area as a strategy. As we have seen internationally, with internet and mobile phone applications, there is growth for our audiences - which is growing and extending in all these media. I don't think print is going to die, I think it will still be there. The audience will not only fragment but will also grow due to these new distribution methods. And for India to be celebrating six years in Mumbai and adding other titles as well, I think that is tremendous. In the market which is quite healthy in terms of competition, there is still a lot of place and scope for an internationally renowned brand like Time Out to grow. I would like to see, and it's the plan here, that Time Out expands into all the new urban cities. And then we can talk about digital, mobile, ipod and ipad applications in the future. That's my vision.

Neelam-I agree with what Nick is saying. The six years in India has been a fun journey, and will be for many more years to come. What started off with the one city edition and then extending the passion from Mumbai to Delhi to Bangalore to Pune is a phenomenal experience. The belief that people have shown in the brand is amazing, and that has been the best part of this entire journey. The audiences of Time Out are loyal audience, who believe in what we say and stand for.

Q. What are the intricacies when a brand like Time Out is licensed to an India publisher? Are there squabbles over percentages and profit margins?

Nick- I don't know the answer to that, but I guess the answer is no. (they laugh)

At the end of the day the arrangement that we have, with this fantastic publishing company here in India, is that the more money they make, the more money we make. And my job is to bring them money from the international advertisers and help them with the way we sell Time Out. Also, it's a two way inclusive process. There are also Indian brands that are looking to go outside India to reach NRI's and general public. With the network that we have and the credentials that we have brought up in India there is no reason why Neelam and her team can't say to the big Indian advertisers, that say that you understand the brands here, and it's the same everywhere else. Why don't you come on a journey with us? Such partnerships bring in healthy growth for both the parties. We are one big family happy which encompass places like London, New York, Mumbai, Delhi, Dubai etc. We are united. And if we lose sight of that fact then we are dead. Then we would become just another magazine. I am absolutely amazed with the brand value that Time Out has all over the world. We have grown to 33 cities and that is a testament to the brand value Time Out holds. There are many more which want to be associated with us, but we tread carefully.

Q. What have been the marketing and distribution strategies of Time Out in India? What is your target audience?

Neelam- We started out with establishing the brand through the city magazine. That is what people identify and associate themselves with. The idea now is also to extend the experience from the magazine to the places where the readers are. For example we are talking about a place like the Hard Rock Cafe, where our audiences exist. The marketing team is taking the brand to the audience, understanding where the audience for our product is. It's not just about being where the audience is, but inversely, also about pulling the audience to where we are. We also looked to take the experience beyond the magazine. For example if we are talking about what one can do over the weekend, we also give solutions and offers to make such plans a reality.

Our target audience is SEC A1+A and to some extent is does extend on to the AB category. There is an audience which totally understands what we are saying, but there is the aspiring class which wants to understand everything that we are saying.

Nick-On global basis Time Out audiences are roughly between 20 and 45 years and are ABC1. In London, New York and Dubai 70-80 per cent are ABC1 and of them 40 per cent AB's. It's a much higher-up market in terms of demographics. There is a conception people had that it was a bag packers magazine, but it's certainly not that.

Q. Internationally, even during recession Time Out did very well across several mediums, adding several editions. How did Time Out�s India edition fare during this period?

Neelam- In Time Out we don't always believe in spending through marketing. It's about creating value in our product, on which we leverage. We were very careful about our spending and the paths we were treading on. The recession didn't impact us a much. However, with the moving away of vanilla advertisers we felt a pinch. It was only a ripple effect. Last year we had a growth of 12-15 per cent. It wasn't exceptional, but we didn't do too badly either. In the year 2010-11 we have a target of 25-30 per cent and we are pretty much on track in meeting that.

Q. Content is cheap in India. At a price point of Rs 50, do u think you are rightly placed or do you expect more from your product and consumers? Doesn�t this make us dependent of advertisers?

Neelam- It's not always about monetizing the product and increasing the profits wherever possible. Time Out is not only about content, it's also about building a community. Yes, content is an enabler, a pull-up in the big way. The real value is when we are able to build a community around the content and then leverage upon it. This value could be exponential and really be high.

Nick- One of the obstacles (internationally) to the growth of Time Out is that the big time advertisers didn't know how big Time Out really was. A few people were surprised to see on the map where all Time Out existed. We have a job of telling the large advertisers and advertising agency that Time Out is their local opportunity. It particularly is, because that's what it's meant to be. And when advertisers say 'think global act local', and there comes the phrase 'glocal', Time Out is already there and always has been. You can buy Time Out globally, you can buy it locally, you can buy regionally. All this talk about Glocal is all 'pie in the sky'. There are just a handful of brands out there that are actually doing that.

And essentially, while every community is different, the spirits of the city dwellers are all the same. They have the same kind of escapism, adventurism, culture etc. and one of the things we do is we focus around the best practices around the world. So we can take learning from Time Out India and the kind of live events they do, into our global markets. There are some aspirations of our audience which are irrespective of culture or customs, whether they are in London or in Mumbai.

Q. There is this hullabaloo in the industry over the fate of the magazines. Several people believe that magazines will cease to exist. Reality or a Myth?

Nick- This is completely a myth. The audiences might move into newer avenues like Iphone applications or tablets in live events etc. but it all extends from the core. Just like mobile phones, ipads one day will become a necessity too. But I think there is nothing better than picking up a magazine or a newspaper in your hand. It's a different feeling altogether. Same way the books won't die because you have an e-reader, magazines wouldn't die because of electronic media. People still want to hold a paper magazine in their hand. I think that the idea of the demise of print is nothing but a fallacy. I think it wise to adapt to where the market is going. But I think there is a core, and there will always be a core.

Q. How do you see newer media mediums effecting magazine? Will it annihilate it, or liberate it?

Nick- There are two ways of looking at it. One is to think that the newer mediums will erode my audiences from the print. The second way of looking, which I personally like, is that it opens up other opportunities of increasing our audience. For example, if we introduce a new Time Out to readers in an event, the readers at the end of the day would come back and pick up a copy of our magazine from the newsstands. We shouldn't bother how people consume Time Out, as long as they consume Time Out. I want advertisers and advertising agencies to buy Time Out across all platforms. As long as our product doesn't lose value in its content, the more people that come to us will eventually stay with us. We have a very loyal audience whom we should embrace across all mediums. I don't think print is going to die, but hiding from the newer mediums is not the right way to go about it. Because that is where the audience is going and it can build your new audience base there.

Q. What are the upcoming trends that you observe in the market?

Nick- If I talk from the Time Out point of view I see more growth across cities, more languages. I think English is a great language and but that's not the only language in the world. We could have a language issue of Time Out someday in India, who knows. I see an increase in the consumer base I see hybrids of Time Out in terms of Time Out guides and Time Out good eating guides. Because that's what the audience want. They want the bible, which is the Time Out magazine, but they want it segmented as well. In London we do a very successful film book every year. It's regarded by many as the film bible. Our film critiques are highly regarded. Don't forget Time Out is not only a magazine and the diversification I see coming to India too. It's a community. Wherever our audience goes we will go with them, that's our brand integrity.

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