Even as the world is reeling under the economic slowdown, hope remains in markets like India and China. The magazine industry in India, too, is witnessing this optimism, as was reflected in an exclusive conversation with Donald D Kummerfeld, President and CEO, International Federation of the Periodical Press.
Though digitalisation is picking up and is a good medium, magazines are here to stay. With the Government easing entry norms for international magazines, a slew of foreign magazines in both the news and non-news genre are making a beeline to enter the Indian market. Rising literacy, the pull of new titles, super specialisation and the relaxing of rules controlling foreign direct investment are the main reasons spurring this growth.
According to Kummerfeld, “The middle class in India continues to grow, so the scope for magazines in India is a healthy situation even in this time of recession. The growth rate of advertising would be particularly slow, but I think the consumers of TV, print and digital are growing in India. That is the basic underline help and the reason this industry will be growing for years to come.”
Giving his view on the space for more publications in the print market in India, he said, “There is always space for another ‘good’ magazine that you can read. What we have in the magazine industry worldwide, and not just in India, is a clutter of ‘me too’ magazines. Everybody can start a magazine, but not everyone can make it successful. Worldwide, generally speaking, four out of five magazines fail in the first two years after they have started. That’s because those are just ‘me too’ magazines with nothing unique in their content or they have inadequate finances so they were not able to withstand even a temporary downturn in advertising. The other reason could be poor management; the people did not know how to run a magazine.”
Kummerfeld further said, “With all this, the magazine business everywhere is a constant churning business with new tiles coming in, going out of business, and being replaced by new titles. However, the larger companies do extensive research before they come into the market with a magazine and adequately support and finance it. So, what you have is growth from the larger, well-financed and well-established companies adding new titles in their portfolios. And then there are these bunch of new ones, which come and go. Well, this is the way things go.”