The opening day of the Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2007 explored the Indian magazine journey till 2020, the strategies to engage readers, and gauged the current rapid growth of business with magazines raining all around the marketplace.
Speakers like Pierre Lamuniere of Edipress Group; Arun Purie of India Today Group; Terry Adamson of the National Geographic Society; and Nicholas Brett of BBC discussed strategies to engage consumers in the growing market like that of India.
Lamuniere said, “The Indian magazine industry is open to international magazines as Western markets are getting more saturated. There is no doubt that India is one of the emerging markets with international players wanting to venture into India.” He further said that poor infrastructure and distribution could be a nightmare for the international publisher. “Try to be a market leader, attract best talent, make your brand and concept difficult to copy, giving a real magazine personality,” advised Lamnniere.
Purie emphasised on mobile as a new platform for magazine publishers. He explained, “Platforms are mere mechanics. Rather, we should concentrate on quality content, and such mechanics would automatically fall in place.”
BBC’s Brett pointed out that India was one of the most lucrative markets to invest in. “India is a fantastic example of a democratic country; it has a lot of promise for the magazine business, and our brand BBC is certainly looking at the future of this country,” he said, emphasising on using the appropriate medium, quality content, and the ability to adapt or change as per changing trends.
In a session titled ‘It’s raining magazines in India’, speakers like Ashish Bagga of Living Media India, and President, Association of Indian Magazines; Devashish Sarkar of WWM; Rasina Uberoi of Media Transasia; and Anant Nath of Delhi Press, discussed the current trend of the Indian magazine industry. The panel reached a consensus that although the magazine industry in India was growing at a fast pace, special attention was needed on several critical issues.
Sarkar elaborated on the issue of ‘people’, and the need to create quality content rather than poaching media professionals from within the industry. “We need to go back to universities, conduct professional courses on content creation, conduct workshops, create scholarships, and train people for quality content exclusively for magazines. It’s raining magazines simply because there is great promise, but at the same time, a lot is required to ensure better results out of this promising business domain.”
While other speakers from the panel spoke about the magazine business’ opportunity in the digital world, Nath expressed that digital technology was more appropriate for business communication rather than information dissemination and educating people. “Digitalisation is good as a medium, but I believe that magazine is a medium that bridges the gap between business communication and information dissemination.”
While Bagga talked about building communities for specialty magazines and the growth of magazines in the language domain, Uberoi said that magazines were at a nascent stage in India, and that a lot had yet to be seen in the Indian magazine industry.