India Today, Axel Springer to launch Auto Bild in India

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | June 30, 2008
The India Today Group ties up with Axel Springer International to launch Auto Bild in India

The & #BANNER1 & # India Today Group and Axel Springer International have come together to launch the largest selling international auto magazine, Auto Bild, in India. The joint venture partnership has the India Today Group holding 51 per cent stake, and Springer International holding 49 per cent stake.

Axel Springer International is a German publishing house with interests in newspapers, magazines, television and radio.

Ralph Buchi

Ashish Bagga
Ralph Buchi, president, Axel Springer International, explains the strategy behind making a debut in the Indian market with an automobile magazine, "Auto Bild is an established, well recognised brand in 30 countries. For us, it is natural to foray into a new market with our strongest brand."

Buchi shares that being a big name back home gave them the advantage of looking for a partner who measured up to their stature and enjoyed leadership status in the market. The India Today Group satisfied their requirements.

Auto Bild will be the first fortnightly automobile magazine in India. Ashish Bagga, chief executive officer, India Today Group, explains, "The choice was between being just another magazine adding to the clutter of the existing auto magazines or being a trendsetter. Market analysis showed enough signs that there was scope and space for a fortnightly. Auto Bild worldwide is a weekly, and that gives us quality content to sustain a fortnightly product for Indian readers."

On their tie-up with Axel Springer International, Bagga delves into the business model between the two. "As a principle, whenever a new project is conceptualised, one has to decide whether to go alone or aim for a partnership. When it came to bringing out an auto magazine, we felt that it was more prudent to associate with a player who exercised supremacy in the field and was an expert in the given domain. Instead of reinventing oneself, one can capitalise on and leverage the expertise of an established player," he says.

Cover of Auto Bild
A service and utility based magazine, Auto Bild will have 80-90 pages, though the inaugural issue has 100 pages. Would a fortnightly auto magazine priced at Rs 40 find takers in a market where readers are more comfortable paying a little more and buying a monthly magazine? Bagga reasons, "Most of the monthly magazines cost around Rs100. A discerning reader, hungry for world class, cutting edge expertise on auto related issues, will not mind shelling out Rs 40 twice in a month."

The content of the magazine will be relevant and appeal to Indian readers. The Auto Bild reader is an intense, discerning and highly curious reader. The magazine will have car previews and national and global news and scoops on the auto industry. It will also carry opinions on vehicle purchase and columns and special write-ups on cutting edge technology, new innovations in the auto market and accessories.

Auto Bild will make the choice tougher for automobile lovers, who already have a plethora of choices when it comes to auto magazines and their websites. Indian and foreign magazines such as Auto Car, Auto Bharti, Auto Focus Asia, Motor Trend and Automobile will now have to juggle for space on magazine stands with the new entrant.

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