Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni probably had the full attention of the hall the moment she said, “It is a matter of pride that India is playing host to FIPP World Magazine Congress but forgive me, if I also say, about time too!” Soni was the Keynote Speaker at the Congress.
Citing that with magazines commanding a sizeable chunk of the 77,000 registered publications, India represented one of the largest magazine hubs. She acknowledged that the magazine business had contributed to growth of the crucial segment of media. She said, “We also probably have the greatest possible diversity represented in our magazines. The magazine scenario represents the entire spectrum from the traditional to the latest digital trends, and these have all coexisted in a diversified environment.”
Despite all the advantages, the sector has been ringing alarm bells too. Soni reminded that the situation was not as grim as it was two years ago, when the magazine industry was dealing with the double blow of the digital “threats” and the economic meltdown. Today there was more optimism and the industry was tackling issues that it was facing it. “But the way forward is clear from the outside,” she said, and added, “The CAGR of the magazine industry is expected to grow from 2010 to 2015 by 4.18 per cent and the way to achieve that is by innovation, adaptation and expansion.”
The Indian media scenario has seen the print industry per se come a long way from basic premise of the initial print policy that was revisited in 2002 and then again in 2005, where liberalisation paved way for growth spurt in the magazine sector. This was reflected in the increase in the number of titles in India, the fact that 250 new titles were given permission and there are many more that have applied to launch more titles in India. The niche space has benefitted significantly from the changing print scenario in India, and technology too has played its role.
“But the untapped potential is even greater,” noted Soni, “the sheer economics of the industry is such. She also assured that the requests of the magazine industry that had points such as police verification for new titles, circulation, more DAVP advertisements to magazines were being addressed, “and not as the normal as soon as possible style of the government but very soon”.
She encouraged magazine publishers to not ignore innovation in the traditional magazine formats as well. She said, “I personally am an avid magazine reader and I am confident that I speak for the younger generation as well, when I say that the print form of magazine brings an unmatched experience. I see that the engagement of this segment with magazines that are related in niche sectors continues. Magazines are best positioned to bring depth and quality of engaging content, and I hope that you focus on doing that.”