“Make mistakes to do better on multi-platforms”

Multi-platforms might not give great RoI at the outset, but when they pick up, they can be next big thing for magazines, say leading global publishers

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Published: Feb 15, 2013 9:18 PM  | 4 min read
“Make mistakes to do better on multi-platforms”

With the emergence of new age of communication, consumers are bombarded with information at multiple levels. This is one the reasons why traditional media such as magazines is gearing up to create effective impressions with generation of content across multi-platforms.

Publishers across the global feel the need to be present at various communication points where their readers are accessing their information. Building communication for multi-platforms means to recreate a business model that will help in taking the brand to the next level. ‘Psychologies’, a women’s magazine based out of France, is a classic example of how a publication observed the need to be present on new channels of communication to reach out to its readers.

Arnaud Saint-Simon, Chief Executive Officer, Psychologies Group, France, said that ‘Psychologies’ focuses on helping its readers understand about themselves and the changing world around them by gathering the latest, most compelling thinking, and translating them into personally relevant insights and guidance.

The magazine has customised versions that can be accessed and carried by its readers wherever they wish to take it. On digital and social media, too, ‘Psychologies’ has worked interestingly. Post card and book publishing business is something that ‘Psychologies’ has ventured into, but is still aiming to earn profits.

According to Saint-Simon, “Creating visibility on multiple platforms can only happen when a brand is clear about the values and business specifications.” He further said that brands shouldn’t be apprehensive when they step into multi-platforms. Learn from the mistakes is what he suggests. It is also necessary that traditional editorial structure is evolved to get use to the changing new media networks. Setting up an organisation that has the talent to take this structure forward is another area of focus that publishers should look at while setting up presence on multi-platforms.

BurdaStyle is another publication house that has shifted its focus from a mass brand to a niche one. Today, BurdaStyle is one of the largest DIY (Do it yourself) fashion and sewing communities with over half a million registered members and nearly 7 million page views a month. It all started in 1949 when a lady named Aenne Burda expanded her family business into women magazines publishing; she founded a fashion magazine printing and publishing company in her home town Offenburg, Germany. The same year she started publishing the magazine ‘Favorit’, which was later renamed as ‘Burda Moden’.

The first issue of ‘Burda Moden’ magazine was published in 1950 with a circulation of 100,000 (in January). It gained great popularity in the market, especially since 1952, when they began to include sheets of paper with patterns for clothes. In 1987, ‘Burda Fashion’ was the first western magazine to be published in the erstwhile Soviet Union and in 1994, it was the first western magazine to appear in People’s Republic of China.

BurdaStyle came into existence in a digital avatar in 2009. Burda aims to bring the craft of sewing to a new generation of fashion designers, hobbyists, DIYers as well as inspire fashion enthusiasts. The website today offers thousands of stylish handcrafted clothes, downloadable PDF sewing patterns, tutorials, project ideas and a community passionate about fashion. From a traditional outlook to a modern comeback in business – Burda is looked up as a perfect transformer in the new age of communication across the globe.

Key learnings for Indian publications
Fabrizio d'Angelo, Burda International GmbH and Hubert Burda Media Holding, believes, “The Indian publishing market is a very event driven market. It is a country of rising middle class, which means consumption partners change with changing technology. Therefore, it will give great scope for foreign publications to collaborate with local publishers and introduce some interesting elements.”

Saint-Simon, on the other hand, is of the opinion that distribution and paying process in India is still complicated. Brands should grow in quality and with clarity to survive. It is the smaller magazines that have clear objective that will emerge. Multi-platforms will not give great RoI at the outset, but the moment they pick up, they will spring up like the next big thing in the world of magazines.

Arnaud Saint-Simon and Fabrizio d'Angelo were speaking at a panel discussion at the 7th edition of the Indian Magazine Congress, being held in Mumbai on February 14 and 15, 2013. The session was moderated by Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group.

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