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Today’s reader is far more sophisticated: Che Kurrien

16-May-2012
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Today’s reader is far more sophisticated: Che Kurrien

Che Kurrien, Editor, GQ India in conversation with exchange4media talks at length about the men’s magazine space in India, evolution of the Indian men, and growth of GQ in India, among other things.

How has GQ been doing since its launch in India?
The reception of the magazine has been overwhelming – from readers and advertisers to the overall luxury and fashion industry. Consumers love the experience of going through our sumptuous and witty pages; our advertising partners love the luxury environment we provide; and GQ’s signature events have set the bar in terms of the people who attend them as well as the standard at which they’re executed.

How is the men’s magazine space shaping up in India?
There’s never been a more exciting time than now to be talking to Indian men. There’s an increased consciousness in fashion manifested quite clearly in daily life as well as a heightened desire to live the good life through high-end cars, luxury watches, wine, gadgets, and idyllic vacations. GQ mirrors the changing lifestyle of the Indian man and stays slightly ahead of him while gently leading him through content that’s useful and entertaining.

How have the Indian readers of English magazines evolved over the years?
In the past, readers of English magazines were mostly news focused. That has changed. Today they’re looking for strong lifestyle and other niche products or specialist magazines that provide insights into new areas, which could be of interest to them and could transform into a passion. The reader is far more sophisticated than in the past, and lifestyle editors are being challenged like never before.

What is the content strategy for GQ India?
Stories in GQ India address the specific needs of the affluent, lifestyle-inclined Indian man, who has an international outlook.

How much of a challenge is the web medium for magazines?
Delivering a luxury product that our readers can touch, feel and savour is part of the allure of GQ India and the reason for why we continue making large investments in the quality of our paper and overall editorial production. That said, our digital offerings are recording robust numbers, and the possibilities for growth and innovation are limitless given the strength and cachet of the brand. The GQ app alone has been downloaded by over 280,000 BlackBerry users, which shows that readers want to engage with strong content whatever the platform.

What are the platforms that GQ is available on? How are you leveraging those platforms?
Our Facebook page has over 70,000 fans that are constantly plugged into the GQ universe and our BlackBerry app is a hit. The website has 200,000 unique visitors each month, and user engagement is being driven by lifestyle news breaks, contests, polls, video and other interactive features. We’re also very excited about the GQ India tablet app to be launched later this year.

How do you foresee the magazine industry will evolve?
Titles that work relentlessly at sharpening their editorial offerings in a bid to provide value in the form of insights and expertise will do well. Skillfully-curated and tastefully-presented content will always attract an audience, especially when published under the umbrella of a strong brand. In a broad sense, technology and smartphone prices are still a barrier in India, so upheaval of the magazine industry is unlikely in the short-term. Yet, when it comes we’ll probably realise that our digital strategies will need to be reworked from the ground up.

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