“IMC 2013 will be an opportunity to learn from the best in the world”

International CEOs, researchers & technology experts will share insights on the magazine sector, shares Tarun Rai, President, AIM & CEO, WWM

e4m by Saloni Datta
Updated: Feb 4, 2013 7:32 PM
“IMC 2013 will be an opportunity to learn from the best in the world”

In the run-up to the seventh edition of the Indian Magazine Congress (IMC), the annual conference of the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) to be held on February 14 and 15 in Mumbai, Tarun Rai, President, AIM and CEO, World Wide Media spoke to exchange4media about the conference theme ‘New Directions. New Opportunities’ and offered insights on some focus areas for the magazine industry. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

Going with the theme of IMC, 2013, what new opportunities are visible for the Indian magazine fraternity?
I see two areas of opportunity. The first is led by the fast growth of brands in the lifestyle, fashion, beauty and luxury space. These, and other such brands, are not looking at only reach but are looking for focussed reach. They are also looking for the right environment in which to place their ads. The second big area of opportunity is, of course, on the content side. With digital technology available to magazine publishers, the reach of their content has increased exponentially. In a country like India where we suffer from retail infrastructure bottlenecks, this is of huge benefit. Digital technology also allows magazines to provide a more enhanced visual experience to its readers.

What are the new ways in which magazines can lure advertisers?
We are increasingly providing innovative brand solutions to clients. Magazines have a powerful relationship with their readers. We are using this relationship to go beyond communicating through just our printed magazine. We are using this relationship in on-ground and on-line activities also. We are working closely with advertisers and media agencies and building joint properties. And it is working. More clients are discovering that magazine brands can provide an engaged audience where the RoI is dramatically higher than any other medium.

What are some of the magazine genres that need to be developed or are at a nascent stage?
There are still many genres to explore. Our latest is Food where we have launched India’s first international food magazine – BBC Good Food. But besides new genres, there is a lot of scope of taking existing magazines ‘multi-platform’.

What does the IMC 2013 hope to achieve for the magazine sector? What are the highlights of the agenda?
With such dramatic changes taking place in magazine publishing, the IMC will be an opportunity to learn from some of the best speakers from India and around the world about their experience. We have international CEOs who will discuss their strategies in the fast changing technology landscape; we have researchers who will discuss how magazines are a more effective medium; we have technology experts who will bring us up to speed on the possibilities that new technology affords publishers. And we have sessions with advertisers and media buyers who will share their experience and expectations from magazines. These two days will be the most important two days for the delegates in their training calendar. Each session is invaluable and any magazine professional serious about his/her career in the space should attend every session. The IMC is also a platform to bring our industry’s professionals together to meet and discuss issues of common interest.

If one were to list the top five sessions of IMC 2013, for those who cannot attend all the sessions over two days, which would they be?
All sessions are important. But the most important is the networking dinner on February 14. Meeting, building relationships with peers over drinks on the lovely terrace of ITC Grand Central is a must. Everyone should be there.

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