For the first time ever in 37 years, India will host the 38th World Magazine Congress (WMC), organised by Federation of International Press & Publishers (FIPP) in 2011. This comes close on the heels of the announcement of Aroon Purie as the Chairman of FIPP and is a major development for the Indian magazine industry. World Magazine Congress will be hosted in India in partnership with the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM).
India is perhaps the only country in the region which is experiencing double digit ad sales growth for the print media continuously in the past few years. India represents a big opportunity for English language and Indian language (and there are several dominant Indian languages) magazine publishing, which is unlike any other country.
India has hosted major international advertising and publishing conventions such as the AdAsia and IFRA in 2008. The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) will be organising the World Newspaper Congress and the World Editor’s Forum in India later this year.
exchange4media spoke to a few veterans in the magazine industry to understand how the World Magazine Congress would contribute to the Indian magazine industry.
The benefits are many
Maheshwer Peri, President and Publisher, Outlook Group, said, “The World Magazine Congress would educate, inform and enlighten publishers and media planners on the opportunities that magazines offer to advertisers and challenges that magazine publishers should be prepared for. It would create a positive environment for the magazine industry.”
Pradeep Gupta, CEO, Cyber Media, noted, “The fact that India has been chosen as the venue for the WMC clearly indicates the interest that global publishers have in India. While print is declining elsewhere in the world, in India it is showing growth.”
He further said, “The event is highly prestigious. It happens once every two years and, therefore, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity for India to host this. The Indian industry will surely gain from the global exposure as the best business practices will be showcased at the Congress. Indian publishers will get an opportunity to interact with global media leaders whose experience of multiple products, multiple geographies, multiple media engagements, etc., will help Indian companies globalise.”
Tarun Rai, CEO of Worldwide Media Pvt Ltd (WWM), a joint venture between BBC and The Times of India Group, said, “I attended the World Magazine Congress in London this week. It was a grand affair with over 900 delegates. I am very happy that we are hosting the next Congress in India. It will benefit the Indian magazine industry in many ways, not the least of which is to raise our industry’s profile. As a newcomer to the industry, I was surprised by how low key our industry is. Advertising, the industry I had spent several years in, is just the opposite.”
Rai further said, “Maintaining a high profile will not only remind advertisers of how powerful magazines can be as a media vehicle, it will also attract better talent. With India as a huge area of focus for the magazines of the western world, it is only appropriate that the Congress be held in India.”
Topics and issues for discussion
Peri said that among the various other topics that would be discussed at the WMC in India, “I would certainly like to see topics like ‘Magazines as an opportunity for advertisers’, ‘ROI that magazines deliver as compared to other media’, and ‘The right circulation pricing for magazines’.”
According to Rai, “One of the key issues for our industry is the low share we get of the total advertising spend. A 3 per cent share does not reflect the power the medium has if used well. We need to push up this share. Exploiting the potential of the web and mobile will continue to be an issue that the Congress should address.”
“I believe India has a huge potential for magazines, but we need to work at developing the industry. The Congress should be an opportunity to learn from the developed magazine markets of the West,” Rai added.
He further said, “In London, because of the cost, only a handful of senior people from the Indian magazine industry were present. Only Worldwide Media had sent some of its young professionals. By having the Congress in India, many more young professionals of our magazine industry will be able to benefit. And, of course, such a big conference will provide a great networking opportunity for a lot of our magazine professionals.”
Rai concluded by saying, “I do hope that unlike some of the magazine congresses that I have attended, our Congress will manage to attract delegates from our advertisers and media agencies. I believe that is very important.”
The FIPP World Magazine Congress is the largest and most high profile magazine event in the world. Bringing together magazine publishers and business media providers from across the globe, the biennial Congress has taken place in many different locations over the years, including Beijing, China (2007), New York, USA (2005), Paris, France (2003), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina (2001) and Hamburg, Germany (1999).