Deepak Lamba, CEO of WorldWide Media, has set himself a clear target – taking the Group’s legacy magazine brands to a new firmament. He is busy pushing the digital agenda on all WWM titles, and has set up an in-house digital team to work aggressively on all the brands. Besides digital, Lamba’s aim is also to accelerate tie-ups, premium events and other properties associated with WWM brands, for which he has set up a special projects team. At the heart of it all, of course, is the focus on profitability, and while WWM has raked in profits over the last few years, Lamba is looking at about 20% growth in topline going forward. “I won’t be able to share actual figures, but of that 20%, a large part will come from initiatives like TV shows or events. We have set ourselves a very ambitious target, and the early wins indicate that we will achieve it. The mix of the profitability will change, because some traditional advertising ways will weaken and some new advertising ways will emerge. Digital will play a far bigger role,” says Lamba, indicating the new directions of growth for WWM in a scenario where magazines have shown de-growth overall.
WWM has identified four brands to focus on for a digital-first strategy – Femina and Filmfare, followed by Top Gear and Grazia. “Across these brands, each of the editorial KRAs have been re-calibrated to ensure that we are digital first with everything that we do. So, each member of the editorial family has to contribute stories every day. Increasingly, video has become more effective and we use this a lot on digital. The idea is that people should come to us as a destination of choice if they want to consume Bollywood or women-related content. Even as we speak, our editorial teams are at the Facebook India office, learning how to be better versed with what we want to do on digital. The aim is to keep generating engaging content on a daily basis,” says Lamba.
With an aim to make Femina.in a much larger universe of content than Femina, the print magazine, there is also a tie-up with Times of India lifestyle, to add to the fresh content that the teams will produce daily for digital.
What are the challenges facing the business of WWM?
The magazine business faces challenges from TV and digital media, but we will ensure that our brands are media-agnostic and occupy leadership positions in their respective genres, with serious presence across multiple media platforms like Print, TV and Digital. That is why we never try and sell stand-alone magazine ad space. We talk to clients about an integrated solution on how they can engage with clients and the magazine in a far more in-depth manner, engaging with a much larger audience on digital through our websites and social media platforms, and through some of our proprietary events which get magnified by our partnerships. In case of the Filmfare award, Facebook added 50 million people, Twitter added about 20 million and Sony delivered about 300 million more to the audience. I think advertisers are appreciating that.
What have been the changes in the overall structure and working of WWM?
We have created a special ‘digital team’, and a ‘special projects’ team, that work across brands. Their core forte is to look at creating shows across platforms. There are a bunch of people here who are very good at doing what we have done in the past, but have no idea about doing what we want to execute in the future. So, there is a team now in place, drawn from television or advertising industry background, whose job is to make sure that knowledge gets spread across all the brands. They ideate, curate and work with the editorial team, the brand team, and the sales team. Our ability to charge from a Rs 10 lakh price point to a Rs 6 crore price point has happened because we have been able to make that change.
Today, the teams are comfortable going with those numbers, and the client community too is beginning to see value in what we bring to the table.
Tell us about your foray into Television content.
Our partnership with Maruti for a unique travel and reality TV show marks our foray into creating TV content. It will be curated by two of WWM’s brands, Lonely Planet India and TopGear India. The show will be an experiential property, a great mix of content coming from WWM brands in the Auto and Travel segments. The contribution of these two brands will highlight Maruti’s product and its experience. For Maruti and WWM, this will be a great way to showcase their respective expertise via cutting edge TV content. This will be followed by a luxury show from Hello! We are looking at airing it on ET Now and Romedy Now.
We have also ideated on a variety of shows. I wouldn’t call one of those a television show, but a television property for TopGear. It need not be a 30-minute, but a 10-minute show that runs across a channel, just talking about super cars.
How do you take on competition in the market? What is your USP over other players that have publications in the same genres?
Our USP will always be the great mix of brands we have across verticals like travel, fashion, luxury, entertainment, auto, lifestyle, interiors, women’s and kids’ infotainment. Most of WWM’s brands are iconic and perceived as extremely credible in their space. Being a part of the BCCL ecosystem adds to the overall value.