After working for over 20 years with the India Today Group, Mala Sekhri has decided to step down as COO, Lifestyle and Music Division. In her long stint with the group, she looked after magazines, music, radio and events.
Talking about her future plans, she said, “I continue to be associated with the group as a consultant for their music-related events and activities. At the same time I feel I need to explore my entrepreneurial instincts and to share my wealth of experience of over two decades profitably.”
Talking to exchange4media about her long journey with India Today Group she said, “The India Today Group has been my second home for more than two decades. I have been here since the time we launched Business Today.”
Sharing the highlights of her work at the group, she said, “Having handled a plethora of roles, the two decades have just flown by. From being involved in making Business Today the No. 1 brand in four short years to launching the Biggest Lifestyle Group in the country with 8 Magazines, the journey has been fast paced, full of excitement and new challenges. This has also kept me at forefront of the lifestyle changes that have taken place in the country particularly amongst women. The kind of insights and mental stimuli that has given me has been tremendous. No other group could have offered such a multi - faceted role.”
In her long career, Sekhri took forward Business Today magazine shortly after its launch and also started events for the group with Business Today. She launched a slew of magazines for the group first as a publisher and then COO. Some of the magazines were Cosmopolitan, India Today Travel Plus, Good Housekeeping, Harpers Bazaar and Women’s Health.
When asked what changes she has seen over the years in the print and digital domain, she said, “From the time I started with the group till now, it’s like a whole new world in media. The lifestyle media space was very small when we entered with a big bang with Cosmopolitan in 1996. (There were only a handful of Indian titles in the market then) - Cosmopolitan perhaps was a bit ahead of its time then, but gave a fillip to the launch of other lifestyle titles in the country. It also helped set very high standards for the lifestyle publishing industry and gave the fashion, lifestyle and Beauty advertisers an appropriate medium at a time when there were very few choices.”
She also added, “While the way people consume media has admittedly changed, magazines brands, particularly those that are need based and provide what we call service journalism continue to enjoy a special place in the lives of their readers. Having said that, a 360 degree approach, with multiple touch points for readers through digital, events, mobile, etc, is critical to maintain and grow the relationship today.”
In her two decade career with India Today Group she has accepted many challenges during the course. Highlighting some of the key challenges, she said, “Maintaining editorial integrity in a world full of advertiser demands was a huge challenge and one I am proud to say we handled very well.”
“In addition, hiring the right people for all these brands when there were very few journalists in this category was a huge challenge. We now have had the brightest journalists who have grown to become the Editors of all these brands.”