Time Out magazine publisher hopes to break even in two years

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 31, 2005
Paprika Media, which is part of the Essar Group, is likely to take Mumbai-based Time Out to other cities within a year

About six months ago, Mumbai saw the launch of a fortnightly magazine called Time Out that aimed at providing information about the city, mapping the arts, culture and entertainment scene apart from providing listings, reviews, dope on eating joints, shopping havens and so on. & #BANNER1 & #

The objective was to be a one-point source of information, which is otherwise dispersed across the city pages of newspapers, magazines or guides. The target audience was the reader keen on having fun, and above all, "willing to spend".

Six months on, says Smiti Ruia, head, Paprika Media, which publishes Time Out, the magazine has a print run of 35,000 copies, and is looking to touch the 50,000-mark by the year-end.

Factors that have contributed to its growth include aggressive distribution across news stands and signals, BTL activities such as tie-ups with festivals, events as well as numerous offers on hand in every issue. These could vary from free movie tickets to passes to happening hangouts, parties or discounts at eating joints and so on.

"The product has also evolved," says Ruia. "We are trying to understand our target audience, their needs, wants and also helping them organise the city in advance."

Plans are in place to add more supplements/pullouts in the magazine, which consists of 100 pages at the moment. Categories that are active in terms of advertising include telecom (BPL, Orange), hotels (Taj, Oberoi/Hilton Towers, Marine Plaza), airlines (Jet Airways), TV channels (STAR World), banks (HSBC Bank), jewellers and restaurants.

The company hopes to add categories such as automobiles, beverages, white goods, glamour and lifestyle products to this list.

It is also looking to take Time Out to other cities in the next one year. "We first need to settle down in Mumbai," says Ruia. "At an overall level, though, we are eyeing a presence in the top six metros," she adds.

The cover price of Rs 25 could vary from city-to-city keeping in mind the culture, dynamics, spending habits of people there. To arrive at the Rs 25 price point in Mumbai, for instance, Paprika spoke to a cross-section of people including distributors, lay consumers, media planners/buyers and first arrived at a Rs 20-50 price band. "Rs 25, we realised, was just right for a product like Time Out, which is premium, but at the same time is targeted at any consumer who would like to have a one-point source that can help him plan his day out or weekend in the city and so on," says Ruia.

Paprika is keen on expanding its operations by adding new titles to its portfolio. Ruia claims that the company is scouting for suitable publishing opportunities for the same. She declines to spell out the investment in Time Out indicating that costs have been kept under control and that the company is looking to break-even in two years.

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