While, most of the newspapers are spreading their wings in to newer markets, DD Purkayastha, MD and CEO, ABP Pvt. Ltd., believes that being more local is the way forward for the print media in India. “I think that in times to come our strategy will be not to expand into newer markets, but rather to consolidate our position in the existing market,” stated he.
In an exclusive interview with exchange4media Purkayastha discussed at length the industry trends and issues. When asked about the future trends in Indian print industry, he said, “Be more local. We don’t want to be insignificant players in many markets. We want to go deeper into the markets we are already present in, we want to be more local.”
ABP Group has several periodicals such as Businessworld, Fortune India, Desh, Sananda, Anandamela, Anandalok, Unish Kuri, Career, etc. It is being said that print, especially periodicals are nearing death. IRS figures also show a general trend of decline for most periodicals. Purkayastha opined, “I don’t think periodicals are nearing death.” He further said that however, those periodicals that have not been able to change with time might cease to exist.
The Success Mantra
“The mantra to success is that be relevant to the readers,” noted Purkayastha. The mantra, according to him, is threefold. “Firstly, it’s important to be focused. Don’t try to give everything to everyone. Being focused, even niche if necessary and catering to a specific TG is what one should do. And change with the changing need. If required, work out brand/line extensions to cater to specific interest segments without diluting the main brand,” he said.
Secondly, it is important to create a brand and have a 360 degree approach where ‘print versions’ will be just an expression of the brand. There could be events, workshops, club activities. All the expressions should live up to the same brand promise. In this model, each expression helps and promotes the other and eventually helps not only to increase circulation of the copies, but also to open up multiple revenue streams.
And, lastly, one should promote interactivity. There should be a two way traffic. Readers should be provided with a platform to interact and even to provide content for the magazine.
Purkayastha cited a specific example of his magazine Sananda. He said that it talked about the empowerment of women. “This need will always be there. With increase in literacy and with cities spreading into smaller towns, this need will only grow. Further, we have the Sananda Club, organise events and workshops. This 360 degree approach is pushing the brand, the magazine forward. Therefore, the secret is to remain relevant, be focused, stick to brand promise and continue to cater to the consumer need,” he remarked.
On niche or special interest publications Purkayastha commented that the niche will be the way to go in the future. “One-size-fits-all strategy will not work in the times to come. Publishers have to be more focused and customise their product for a specific target audience,” he stressed.
(With inputs from Akash Raha)
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