‘The Sportstar’, the weekly from the publishers of The Hindu, will don an entirely new look from its issue dated January 25, 2006. The legendary Mario Garcia, who a few months ago had created the new look for The Hindu, has redesigned the sports magazine. The changes will transcend just the look – it will be a tabloid now.
Speaking to exchange4media, N Murali, Joint Managing Director, The Hindu, said, “The idea is to become more contemporary. It is a comprehensive redesign, and will involve a change in the content and the format. Sports should come alive in the new tabloid format. In essence, it is not just a redesign, but a relaunch, making it more fresh, exciting and sportier.”
The weekly has been consistent in its circulation, with over 50,118 copies across the country (ABC, Jan-Jun, 2005). With its new look from the next issue, readers will also witness a change in the magazine’s cover price, which is now at Rs 10.
With television being the only competition to India’s only sports weekly, it is not surprising that circulation ups and downs of The Sportstar have been determined more by major sporting events than anything else. Commented Murali, “We are also in the process of making it ‘newsier’. The cycle will change, enabling us to cover a sporting event on Sunday in the next issue.”
Murali explained that one of the objectives was to increase the circulation numbers. And though cricket was admittedly still a religion in the country, the focus of sports lovers had shifted in part to sports like tennis, football and motor sports, thanks to television, he added.
“So far, the readership numbers have been very good. By and large, the circulation has been steady, but stagnant so far. The Sportstar is over 25 years old, almost 30 now. We have continuously tried to bring about changes, and a magazine which appeals to the youth needs to change with time to get trendier,” Murali reasoned.
A teaser campaign is currently on, and Garcia is expected to make a presentation on the new look at an event in Chennai on January 25, 2006. Among the first to get ‘A new look at sport’ will be Kapil Dev, Ramesh Krishnan and PT Usha.
For the record, The Hindu group had published a magazine called ‘Sport and Pastime’ till 1968, and The Sportstar was born in 1978. It will now be re-born on Wednesday.