Srinivasan B aka Srini is the Managing Director of the 89-year old Vikatan Group. Having joined the family business, he has been spearheading Vikatan’s diversification to magazines in multiple genres.
In conversation with exchange4media, Srini spoke about Q3 performance, expectations in Q4 and reason behind the launch of Braille version of Chutti Vikatan...
ASSOCHAM report predicted a 30 per cent increase in corporate ad spends but the results have not been up to expectations for the print players.
Yes, in spite of the projection done by ASSOCHAM, the print industry has not been growing significantly in 2014.
How has Vikatan done in the Quarter 3 especially during Diwali and what are your expectations for the last quarter?
Quarter 3 has been quite good, as post Diwali we have grown by five per cent. But the growth of the print industry across India has been pretty low and not up to expectation. The industry still looks sombre and the last quarter also seems to be dull.
Print industry in Tamil Nadu generally witness retailers spending huge money both during Diwali and pre-diwali season. This year, retailers have cut down their spends in a big way. Not only that, even the national advertisers have cut down their spends in a big way. Jewellery and textile have also been doing major cut backs on their spends.
E-commerce has been the buzz word across all platforms, but they happen to not spend money on magazines. As the e-commerce campaigns are for a day or a week, they generally prefer getting into the TV medium and the next option would be newspapers, which will give them reach and awareness.
I haven’t seen good tidings yet. Acche Din has to come in with positive sentiments and we haven’t seen that happening yet. We do not even know when the ‘Acche Din’ will arrive and for how long they will stay. But we are hoping for a good Financial Year 2015-16.
What led to the Braille edition of Chutti Vikatan?
The basic idea of Chutti Vikatan is to improve Tamil reading among children. There are about 5000 visually impaired children studying in TN and Pondicherry Special Schools and actually there are not too many books in Braille itself. So when a children’s magazine with great content, covering news and articles across variety of genres allows the child to read and get into the mainstream, it is a proud moment for us. We feel this Braille edition can bring a lot of change in their lives.
What are your focus areas for 2015?
We are undertaking an overall change in the way we approach advertising. We are trying to focus more on events, customer contact and plain vanilla advertising will grow on the back of these things which are sought after by the advertisers. Typically the advertisers are looking for vehicles to travel beyond just the printed word. So, we believe that innovation and events and the mix between TV, print, online will actually excite the clients and the advertisers.
What are the trends that will prevail in 2015?
E-commerce will act as a game changer for both print and TV industry by helping the industry increase their revenues. Unless there is a retail push the overall market is going to be subdued. The print industry and the retail growth has to happen in the coming year. We are hoping for a 15 per cent growth for the print industry in 2015.
What are your expectations on the new IRS?
Let’s hope there is some method in the madness, this time around.