Robb Report, the king of luxury magazines, as many media observers call it, has officially launched in India on May 1, 2011. The title, which in India is licensed by the India Today Group, has been the world’s most renowned journal of luxury lifestyle for over 35 years.
The group is beginning with a print run of 35,000 copies for the inaugural issue. Robb Report is following a controlled circulation model. This means that the Group pre-identifies the ‘affluentials’- the affluent and the influential, who would be sent a copy of the magazine. At present, India Today already has a list of 30,000 readers who would be getting these copies. Robb Report would not be available on the stands nor would it adopt any other subscription route.
The magazine has not even been given a cover price. “It is priceless,” quipped Ashish Bagga, CEO, India Today Group, and added, “On a serious note, Robb Report is playing on a completely different ground in premium luxury and in any of its functions, whether it is content, marketing, ad sales or circulation, it cannot be dealt in a similar manner as a luxury magazine. You cannot compare this with any other magazine.”
The Group has put together an independent team for the content of the magazine, and 70 per cent of the content would come from international Robb Report editions. Bagga explained, “There is a crack team of editors, marketing and ad sales people for Robb Report, and we have picked the best from the group, people who understand this space. Luxury is global and the ‘affluential’ Indian is global, hence 70 per cent of the content would be global.”
In its inaugural issue, the magazine’s content ranges from automobiles featuring Rolls Royce Motor Car on the cover to watches to yachts to travel, hotels, resorts and spas and similar subjects of luxury.
India Today Group has also pegged the ad rates much higher than any other comparable magazine of the space. A media buyer explained to exchange4media, “The ad rates they have quoted are in some cases even four times the rates of other magazines, such as Vogue or GQ or even Harper’s Bazar, but since they are speaking of a very different, very elite readers set, and have that kind of content and production quality to show, it is something one would like to experiment with.”
In India, the magazine’s awareness was very high amongst brands such as Swatch, Rolex, Cartier and others, but Bagga admitted that for some of the Indian luxury brands, given the elitist nature of the magazine, some amount of education was needed.
India Today Group would also take the brand on the on-ground route through events as the magazine progresses in the market.