Buoyed by the circulation figures published by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), Malayala Manorama’s magazine, The Week, has initiated an aggressive advertising campaign on digital and print platforms that takes competition head-on. ‘India Today and Outlook are cordially invited to prove this ad wrong’ reads the advertisement, claiming that The Week is the country’s largest circulated English news magazine as per ABC’s (July–Dec 2016) findings.
When approached to explain the idea behind the campaign, Malayala Manorama’s Varghese Chandy shot back with an equally forthright response. “What is there to explain? The advertising is crystal clear. It is in black and white. You must ask the competitors,” said Chandy, Vice President, Marketing and Advertising Sales. Citing ABC’s audited circulation figure of 1,63,891 copies, he noted that their major competitors who were publishing in the same language did not have such a certification.
Daring publishers to “dispute the numbers”, he pointed out that there was a time when India Today used to sell many copies. But, it has been long since they pulled out of ABC along with Outlook magazine. He argued that “the advertising industry is all confused” as “everybody makes a claim” in the absence of any recent Indian Readership Survey (IRS) data. Therefore, the ABC numbers have emerged as a significant metric which acts as comparable currency.
“That is the reason why we decided to do this campaign in order to set the record straight for the advertising industry,” asserted Chandy However, he conceded that there is not much growth as far as The Week’s circulation is concerned.
A voluntary body comprising advertisers, advertising agencies and publishers, 57 magazines are members of the ABC. As per the latest ABC report, not even a single English publication featured among the top five highest selling magazines in the country. The numero uno position went to Vanitha, another publication of the Malayala Manorama Group, with a circulation of 5,58,978 copies.