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IMC 2008: Digital is the way for magazines; ride the mobile growth to reach TG

23-September-2008
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IMC 2008:  Digital is the way for magazines; ride the mobile growth to reach TG

Print is growing, but with the growing importance of digital, print needs to exploit the digital format to its advantage. This thought came to the fore at the session on ‘Exploiting the Digital Opportunities’ at the Indian Magazine Congress 2008, being held in Mumbai on September 22-23. The two-day Indian Magazine Congress is being organised by the Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) in association with WWM, Worldwide Media. exchange4media Group (exchange4media.com, Pitch and impact) and Business Standard are the media partners.

The panelists included Neville Taraporewalla, CEO, Publicitas; Patrick Kenny, Senior VP-Consumer Marketing and Publisher Services, Qiosk.com; Alexandra Solomon, VP-International Marketing, Zinio; and Anurag Batra, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group. Ravi Kiran, CEO-South East & South Asia & CEO- Specialist Solutions, Starcom, MediaVest Group was the moderator.

Alexandra Solomon started the session by introducing Zinio to the audience and through her introduction made a strong point for the digital medium, which, she said, offered advertisers more depth by bringing in more life to the advertisement.

Neville Taraporewalla said, “People want monetisation, content and then opportunity. It, however, should be the other way round.” He added that consumption patterns were changing and there had to be a whole lot of specials that publishers should be able to weave into their digital content.

According to Patrick Kenny, “It is digital, but it is still magazines.” He felt that one shouldn’t write away print altogether.

Anurag Batra observed that today’s generation preferred accessing the Internet more and added that the Internet gave the reader a better exposure and experience. “If content is king, then distribution is god,” he said, adding that with rising distribution costs a lot of magazines were closing down their print editions and going online.

When Ravi Kiran raised the question on cost effectiveness of replicating print into digital, Kenny said it was ‘tremendously’ cheaper. However, Solomon stated that there were websites that still worked as brochures because they looked at digital only as a marketing tool.

Taraporewalla noted that after creating print content, the publisher just ended there. “There is a lack of creativity. There are a whole lot of things that one can do even after creating content,” he pointed out. Agreeing with him, Batra said, “Publishers think they are in the business of creating communities. It is great, but they need to get into the business of creating commerce as well.”

Meanwhile, delivering the keynote address on ‘Mobile Platform: Optimising the content revenue streams’, Rajesh Jain, Managing Director, Netcore, made a strong case for the use of mobile platform in media.

“While India has missed the Internet mode, mobile has now become very much a part of our lifestyle. The advertising dollar will follow with the audience and the audience as of now are in mobile” Jain pointed out.

Citing research, Jain said that 40 per cent of the subscribers read all the ads they received via SMS. He added that SMS would be for mobile, what search was for the Internet.

He further said, “Focus is not on the mobile, but on the value added service. SMS can now drive audiences to the Internet. Mobile phones are always with us, the messages can be sent immediately, and one can also share photos. It is the largest distribution platform today and offers a variety of touch points like SMS and MMS. The mobile is soon going to be our very own multiplex.”

Stressing on ‘Mobile Invertising’, Jain said, “Invertising means invited advertising. It creates a hotline to each one of us and works successfully because subscribers want to get connected.”

He added, “Invertising is built around push and permission and there is no better way to do that than to let your customers move in and out. Even if people have not subscribed to a publication, they can simply read the SMS and buy it or subscribe to it if they so please, and the response can be done through the same medium. One of main reason why people choose to remain subscribed is because Invertising allows subscribers to opt out if they are not happy with the subscription. The key, however, is to deepen the relationship.”

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