The Vikatan group is gearing up to launch an auto magazine in Tamil, as it enters its 81st year in March 2006. The new offering will be titled ‘Motor Vikatan’, and a section by that name has been introduced in group publications ‘Ananda Vikatan’, ‘Junior Vikatan’, ‘Aval Vikatan’ and the newly launched ‘Nanayam Vikatan’. More niche magazines in Tamil are being considered, as are special offerings to readers and advertisers as part of the 81st year celebrations.
Speaking to exchange4media, B Srinivasan, JMD, Vikatan Group, said that it was too early to make a comment or a commitment about ‘Motor Vikatan’. He was optimistic of its launch soon, though, and explained, “As a group, we are committed to more magazines. We are gung ho about the effervescence of print, and the Tamil market is growing by leaps and bounds. Auto is a very important sector today, and Chennai is making waves as a global auto destination. Vikatan is now targeting another need of our own readers, as well as a new audience with a keen interest in automobiles. We are talking about a very practical perspective, of content of relevance to a single car or bike owner as well as a truck or bus fleet owner, and it’s not just about flashy cars and pull out posters.”
During the launch of its financial fortnightly, ‘Nanayam Vikatan’, the group had adopted a similar strategy, of introducing a branded section, ‘Nanayam Vikatan’, in its other publications. Feedback on this section over several months was used to fine-tune the content mix before ‘Nanayam Vikatan’ hit the stands as a stand-alone magazine in December, 2005. It has consistently been selling over 100,000 copies since the launch issue, inform market sources.
“The intent is to try and explore the space, and launch ‘Motor Vikatan’ as a standalone magazine. We have identified a few more niche areas, and we believe we will have the capacity and the scope to launch magazines in Tamil in these areas,” added Srinivasan. Currently, hunt is on for a domain expert in auto space.
Vikatan’s book publications division has also emerged from the shadows. The group brought out 65 titles in 2005-06, as against 37 the year before. At the recently held Book Fair, the group registered a sale of 15,000 books in the last five days. The target for next year is 125 titles, informed the spokesperson, and said, “There seems to be a thirst for printed material. We see the book publications division emerging as a big contributor to the top line and bottom line.”
The group completes 80 years of operations in February and has a special offering for readers in March. While the JMD asserted that it would be an innovative collector’s issue that would hit the stands, further details were not forthcoming. A host of events and activities have also been planned.
Speaking about the anniversary, Srinivasan said, “It’s not so much about celebrating the completion of 80 years or entering the 81st year. We are working on a lot of activities intended to add value to readers and advertisers alike. The growth is still robust, and we think it’s payback time.”