Arguably Indian print industry is second largest in the world after China, pegged around $ 4.2 Billion, growing at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7 per cent. Despite being a fragmented market, this industry offers ample of opportunities. The growing literacy rate has increased the demand for specialized content which has further encouraged the demand of magazines especially niche publications.
News stand are full of niche magazines targeting men, women, kids, students, sports lovers, travel lovers, foodies and so on.
Another factor which has contributed towards the growth of magazine brands is digital, which has created an entirely new ecosystem of e-magazines. Digital is one of the most powerful tools for marketers to reach out to a specific target group and almost every other publication is active on digital platform. E-magazines have crossed the geographical boundaries and cater to the needs of the consumers globally, at any given place and time.
India is a multicultural and multilingual country, and considering the effect of the strong cultures lot of regional language magazines have evolved. For instance Femina, a popular publication targeting women recently launched its Bengali edition. Besides English and Bengali, the magazine is also available in Hindi and Tamil.
But is there real scope for niche magazines in smaller towns where readership mainly involves local publications? With the rising rates of English readership across smaller towns in India, it seems possible.
Asserting the point that regional population constitutes metros and readers are same everywhere, Paresh Nath, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, Delhi Press said “Region is something which is not out of metros but within metros. Hence no magazine is regional, the power of these magazines is much more than what is perceived.”
Indranil Roy, President, Outlook Group said, “There is a growing phenomenon of niche publications not only in India, but all over the world. People love to read magazines of a particular genre, where passion is involved. Though this segment is small, the magazines have direct connect with the consumer.”
Tanushree Hazarika, Managing Editor, Eclectic Publications noted, “People want to read more on what they are connected to and what is relevant to them. For instance readers of our magazine are interested in the issues faced by the people of north-eastern India. Besides, the increasing demand of B2B communities has also encouraged the growth of niche publications.”
Since magazines are content specific, they help advertisers to reach out to the target consumer without many efforts. After Indian Government allowed 100 per cent foreign ownership in the non-news and special interest categories in print media, there has been a spurt in the number of magazine brands in India.
Abhay Gupta, Founder and CEO, Luxury Connect believes that despite the popularity of digital, advertising in print medium is important. “Being a luxury brand, before choosing an advertising medium, we look forward to something niche, high profile where brands of similar status are featured. Besides, positioning of a publication and the audience that is caters to also matters. So the importance of advertising in the right magazines or print media still holds a strong relevance for premium brands.”
Corroborating his concern Anoop Prakash, Managing Director Harley Davidson Motorcycles India said, “Magazine ads are very influential not just for our brands but in general. As far as Harley Davidson is concerned, we are eyeing tier I cities as Harley is looking ahead at expanding in Guwahati and other such towns. We understand the reach of vernacular magazines in these towns and will be incorporating them (vernacular magazines) in our marketing plans”.
Though the Indian print market is cluttered, but to suffice the growing appetite of consumers for specialized content, magazines have turned out to be great fodder.