IMC 2009: Look for new sectors that could take the industry further: Nishant Singhal

Day one of the Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2009, being held in Delhi on November 5-6, commenced with a welcome address by Outlook Group’s Maheshwer Peri. His address was followed by a thought-provoking presentation by Nishant Singhal of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who deliberated on the growth aspects of the Indian magazine landscape.

by Rishi Vora
Published - Nov 6, 2009 7:41 AM Updated: Nov 6, 2009 7:41 AM
IMC 2009: Look for new sectors that could take the industry further: Nishant Singhal

Day one of the Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2009, being held in Delhi on November 5-6, commenced with a welcome address by Maheshwer Peri, President & Publisher, Outlook Group and President, AIM. Peri’s address was followed by a thought-provoking presentation by Nishant Singhal of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who deliberated on the growth aspects of the Indian magazine landscape.

The presenting sponsor for the fifth edition of (IMC) is Worldwide Media, while Chitralekha and Cannon are the associate sponsors. exchange4media Group (exchange4media.com, impact and Pitch) is the media partner.

Speaking at the Congress, Singhal threw up several questions for the audience to ponder upon. “Are you, as a publisher, differentiating your offering from the competition? Are you maximising your readership and reach? Should print and new media run as separate operations or they should be integrated?,” he asked.

While pointing out that nearly all players today were present online, Singhal said that leveraging both print publications and their online presence could be the way to go.

He further said that most people liked reading print publications, however, the younger generating was skewed more towards the online medium.

He further noted that outsourcing had been a part of India’s growth story for several years now, and the telecom industry had benefitted immensely from outsourcing. In context of print publications, the challenge was to outsource non-differentiated offerings, he added.

Moving on to business models, Singhal said, “We are in a market which will grow the fastest globally. And we should realign our strategies to the emerging trends as business five years hence will be different from what it is today. India is different. India is growing at a time when the US is decelerating. We feel that the market potential is good. In the past, GDP growth has been 8 per cent, now it stands at 6.5 per cent. I believe that the revival is likely to be less dependent on global recovery.”

On the emerging trends, Singhal warned that digitalisation could not be ignored. “There is no hiding space from digitalisation. Digital is cost effective, you can measure it, and we can also evolve marketing strategies around it,” he said, while speaking on the advantages of digitalisation.

Doling out some statistics on the demographics of the Indian consumers, he said that 50 per cent of the Indian population was below 25 years of age, and that many brands were looking at tapping the younger generation. “It is an opportunity for us to take our share from that spending. And as we grow in stature, appetite for media consumption will increase,” he added.

He also noted that regulations had been an area of concern for the magazine industry, but added that the Government’s move to hike FDI in print to 26 per cent was a welcome initiative. “The Government has become a friend of the media industry. There will be new sectors that will contribute to advertising. Retail sector contributes 2 per cent, real estate contributes around 3 per cent. So, the key is to look for new sectors that could take the industry further,” he pointed out.

Concluding his address, Singhal stressed on the fact that the macroeconomic environment was challenging, and that realignment in the strategy was the key to do well in the next five years. “Fundamentally, there is great potential. Keep an eye on the emerging markets and see what the changes are,” he advised while summing up his presentation.

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