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Industry speak: The power still remains with general business magazines

01-October-2007
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Industry speak: The power still remains with general business magazines

Indian economy is riding high, and so has the desire among its citizens to understand and treasure the journey while on its way. What better medium could there be to treasure this, other than books and magazines on the success stories of Indian industries, its entrepreneurs and their success mantras? There is no doubt that business magazines are in the sweet spot of the media. But are they getting more niche day-by-day?

The trend overseas is that business magazines have been catering to the general business-interest people. Magazines like ‘Fortune’, ‘Forbes’, ‘Business Week’, ‘The Economist’, etc., all have been covering wide subject areas. But that doesn’t mean that there is no scope for niche, specialty or vertical products in the market. The overall perspective of media gurus is that while there is a rise in the readership of the general business magazines, specialists from various forms of business would continue to keep track of their business through vertical and niche products.

Ashish Bagga, CEO, India Today Group, is of the opinion that business magazines appeal to the segment-seeking information, with analyses and insights pertaining to business and economy, and that its content is a reflection of the ever-changing economic scenario and emerging business trends and issues.

Bagga further said that business magazines may change their scope and content mix as per changing demands, but the focus would always be on covering a wide range of business topics. “There is no doubt that business magazines are the value providers for the current and future business executives. However, all this does not preclude the emergence of finer niche-oriented magazines that will cater to a newer profile of readers,” he said.

“Segmentation is an evolutionary process, and we expect readers to become more discriminatory in their tastes and expectations progressively. So while investing and personal finance is a kind of niche orientation, we may witness several new business niches developing in the future: for instance, new titles are likely to come up in the business genre addressing specific verticals of finance and stocks, sales and marketing, entrepreneurship, banking and insurance, taxation and law, international business, management, etc. It's all a function of emerging demand and readership trends,” Bagga said.

Pheroza Bilimoria, Managing Director, Business India Publication, said, “There is still a large number of readers who want to read popular business magazines, and then within this readership, I believe there are readers who would specifically like to know about their industry. But these readers would not stop reading general business news, and therefore I don’t see any such threat to general category business magazines.”

Talking further about the future of business magazines, Bilimoria explained that the increasing number of people entering into business, especially the foreign players, and their interests in reading business magazines, would only grow. “So I think the future for business magazines is pretty rosy,” she said.

Indranil Roy, Associate Publisher, Outlook Group, pointed out the vast difference between a specialty business magazine and the general business magazine. He said that the circulation of the leading general business magazine in the country was around 150,000 copies compared to a miniscule distribution of 50,000 copies of specialty magazines. He emphasised that there was a need for publishers to be much more mature, global, and analytical while dealing with business magazines, because the market was getting stiffer and tougher with international magazines eying the Indian magazine market.

Roy further said that gone were the days when people didn’t look beyond family business issues. “Today’s reader is much more evolved, he needs a lot more information, requires a global perspective, and he is much more futuristic in approach. His objective is to learn and get ideas, and it is important for every business magazine to deliver that,” he added.

Talking about the scope of general business magazines against the vertical and niche ones, Roy said that general business magazines as a genre will only get broader and wider in scope.

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