Ananda Vikatan, the Tamil weekly, has added another dimension to the print war in the state. In copies of its issue dated June 26, 2005, a total of 16 pages have been dedicated to the specially created images, and the weekly handed out viewing glasses for readers to view the images, free with the magazine. Vikatan is in the process of inviting advertisers and agencies to feature in the publication in the 3-D format, and is hopeful of this taking off in the coming weeks.
Following its successful innovation in content with the special series on Rajnikant, the publication is planning to make the 3-D images a regular feature for ‘some more time’. Speaking to exchange4media, B Srinivasan, Joint Managing Director, Vikatan Group, said, “Essentially, we’ve struck an equation where print needs the visual imagery. In print, you can’t really bring an image to life. We’ve tried to bring it as close as possible to the celluloid images.”
The technology is said to be similar to what was used in Shankar’s film ‘Boys’ recently. Multiple camera setups are used to capture each image, and after a minute or so of concentration with the special glasses on, the image does seem to come to life.
When asked about the possible increase in numbers with the introduction of the 3-D segment, Srinivasan said, “The response has been instantaneous and fabulous. We have sold out on the second day, and this is the fastest in a long time.” The first special issue with Rajnikant sold out in less than 72 hours, the publication was reported to have increased its print order by 10 per cent subsequently. “We have come a long way from there. Demand is pouring in for additional copies,” is all that the spokesperson would divulge now.
He added, “The new buyers who have hooked on to the magazine would stay hooked for at least 4 to 6 weeks. In this time, we are confident that they will get hooked to the magazine with or without the 3-D initiative. While the shelf life of the copy will go up, after some time the fascination with the concept will come down. We would have launched some more innovations by then. It’s a continuous process.”
The weekly is said to be planning to make the viewing glasses available at newsstands at a price of around Rs.2, for new buyers of next week’s issue to be able to view the images. And in a subsequent issue, the weekly is also open to handling out a pair freely again with copies, but with the involvement of a sponsor. The glasses, which seem to have generated a lot of interest among kids, might just sell by themselves at that price.
While the photography and content development for the 3-D segment have been done in-house, Vikatan sourced and manufactured the glasses. Admitting that some of the images were not very impressive, Srinivasan added, “We are working on it and are learning. From the second issue onwards, I think we would do even better.”
At the moment, Ananda Vikatan might have to handle the pictures and the processing for ads in the 3-D format by itself, and this might be an initial hurdle for the advertisers and the publication to work on. But Chennai-based agency representatives (god knows why they refuse to be named) expressed the opinion that it would be an excellent medium for showcasing creativity. They added that the level of attention and also the amount of time spent on the release would be considerably higher in a 3-D format.
The images in the recent issue included giraffes, models, movie stars and the iconic Tamil super star. Incidentally, Rajnikant was on the cover of this issue of Ananda Vikatan too, in an exclusive interview to the weekly from Bangalore. The special series featuring the actor came to an end with this issue.