The later sessions of day two of Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2007, being held in Mumbai, focused on custom and collaborative publishing as well as opportunities in B2B publication. According to panelists, custom and collaborative publishing was focused and knew their audience well. They are more effective than the traditional magazines. There is, however, need to tailor content for diverse media. There is also a controlled distribution and content is cut to suitability. There is less clutter and is accepted by readers. The speakers also said that custom publishing should not be dependent on advertising.
Peter Morgan of Mediascope cited the example of the US and said that there were publications from parenting to health to even ‘Dog’s Life’, and the market was potentially huge and still growing. He also stressed that quality was very important to survive in that segment.
The other speaker of the session was Xavier Collaco, President, Media Transasia.
Another session of the day was on ‘The challenge of measuring the true effectiveness of magazines’. Speakers said that effectiveness in magazine business was not about reading and noting, the more important aspect was that there were no separate readership surveys done for magazines. “There is no magazine research, which is a fundamental problem. Until we get a sense of quality, quantity and who our readers are, the effectiveness factor cannot be measured,” noted Meenakshi Madhvani of Spatial Access.
The IRS and NRS surveys are meant for newspapers and use the same metrics and criterion for magazines as well. Publishers strongly felt that magazine survey should be taken off the IRS-INS survey and a separate body formed for it. This is because the numbers that appear eventually are distorted. Time had come to start an independent survey for magazines.
Sam Balsara, Chairman and MD, Madison Media, however, said that the sampling done in the surveys were small and, therefore, there was more sampling error reported while Partha Rakshit, MD, ACNielsen, said that there was always a probability of underestimation of IRS-NRS figures. “Any other body would replicate the NRS-IRS figure and would not serve any purpose,” he said.
The other conclusion that panelists arrived at was that magazines took the third position so far as effectiveness was concerned. There was a need to forget the weaknesses and play up with the strengths of the industry.
Another topic that got attention was ‘Business Media (B2B) opportunities in an integrated media environment’. The B2B business is well targeted and the delivery system is more effective than B2C. It also keeps a tab on what the advertisers are looking for. These are some of the opinions shared in this session. Glenn Hansen of BPA said, “B2B magazines are considered more trustworthy, objective and raise awareness of new product. B2B Web provide access to latest information, trust and act as resource provider.”
Rohinton Maloo, MD, Cutting Edge Media, Tony Kelly and Marketing Interactive Glenn Hansen of BPA were the other speakers at the session.
A session on ‘Expanding multiple sales platforms for maximizing effective distribution’ saw eminent speakers like Vivek Gaur of Living Media India, Pradeep Mohan of MaXposure, Anant Nath of Delhi Press, and Rajgopalan Nair of Malayala Manorama exploring various means to look beyond news stands and subscription sales.
Gaur maintained in his presentation that it was critical for magazine publishers to work under a consolidated environment where publishers would come together and chalk out plans in the interest of respective publication, and more importantly, in the interest of the industry. Gaur further emphasised on strengthening traditional channels and at the same time creating new channels for increasing sales and distribution.
Nath compared the circulation of magazines in the US and the UK with that of circulation in India. “In America, the density of stand sales is less as they rely more on the subscription model. In European markets, it’s the other way round,” he observed. Talking about the Indian market, Nath pointed out that Indian publishers relied more on sales via newsstands, yet its density of sales through stands was as low as America’s.
Mohan spoke about luxury magazines and the need for them to have proper ambience and environment at points of sale. “For luxury products, distributors have to be innovative while choosing outlets, penetrate bulk clients and use multiple retails chains for mass availability,” he added.
(With additional inputs by Rishi Vora)