After the & #BANNER1 & # launch of automobile magazine 'Top Gear', Worldwide Media, the joint venture between the Times Group and BBC Worldwide, has some significant plans for India for 2007. It plans to launch another five magazines by the next financial year, declares Ian Watson, international director, BBC Worldwide.
Though the names of the magazines are not known yet, Watson says the magazines will be from the food, interiors and homes, women and celebrity magazine genres. "India is crazy about celebrities!" Watson exclaims. Accepting that the women's magazine market is already cluttered, Watson says that there's still a lot of space for more. "Magazines need to be focused on the target group and its aspirations," he says.
Watson elaborates, "There have been a number of popular international titles coming to India, but there's a high proportion of foreign content in them. We are going to look seriously at localisation of content that will connect with the readers here. Though this does not mean a complete absence of foreign content, we will minimise it appropriately."
Ian WatsonHe says that another problem that plagues magazines today is their blurred focus on the target group. "We need to make magazines very target relevant and focused. Some of the women's magazines are too broad based. A magazine that caters to the teens must cater only to them and not to their mothers and grandmothers."
Watson said the magazines Worldwide Media plans to launch will all be driven by the Indian consumers and Indian consumer insights, keeping the international brand values intact. "We are looking at the emerging trends in the Indian market. For instance, food is really a booming sector with retail food undergoing a seismic shift," he explains.
When asked about the niche and specialist magazine genres, he says, "We don't draw distinctions between niche and specialist. We look at it as specialist and broad-based." According to him, 'Top Gear' falls in the 'reasonably broad yet specialist' genre. He says that a magazine revolving around a particular passion could be called a specialist magazine.
Watson is optimistic that the economic development, growth in lifestyle and the change in the advertisers' mindset towards magazines in India, will prove to be catalysts for their forthcoming properties.
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