RPG to launch Open on April 3

By Dhaleta Surender Kumar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 26, 2009
RPG is extending its entertainment business into media as well, with the launch of Open, a magazine targeted at the high-end segment

After a long wait, Open, a general interest magazine from Open Media Network, a 100 per cent subsidiary of RPG Enterprises is all set to be launched on April 3.

Sandipan Deb is the editor of the magazine, who, in fact, was one of the founder editors of Outlook, more than a decade ago.

The magazine's TG is clearly defined: individuals who belong to SEC A1, are around 32 years (both male and female) of age, with a monthly household income of Rs 2 lakh, hold senior managerial positions, drive C segment cars, wear branded apparel, use high-end phones or Blackberrys and travel abroad at least once a year.

& #BANNER1 & #The magazine will be available in 12 cities - Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Kochi and Pune - at select bookstores, which are frequented by the TG.

Open is priced at Rs 30, higher than other general-interest magazines, such as India Today, Outlook and The Week, which are priced at Rs 25 and below. However, Umesh Kumar, publisher, Open, feels that there is no direct competition with these magazines, which, according to him, are more mass magazines.

Kumar has come in from India Today, where he was the associate publisher.

"Our research shows that these magazines are perceived to be political magazines that do more of a roundup of the week, and our TG wants more than that. In the past 10 years, as the media has evolved and as television breaks the stories, newspapers have taken up the analytical role of magazines. During this period, magazines haven't evolved at all," he says.

He feels that Open is a product to fill that void. It will be positioned as an interesting, intelligent and stimulating magazine.

"Open has a very strong editorial philosophy that it won't repeat news that people have already watched, read or heard. We'll constantly challenge the reader to think once more. Even though the features would be opinionated, they'll be more like talking to friend, rather than giving 'gyaan' and talking from a pedestal", says Sandipan Deb, editor, Open.

The magazine itself is being positioned as - 'Refreshing mind stimulant'.

Open will start with an initial circulation of one lakh copies and finish the year at 1.25 lakh copies. "We'd like to start with a readership of two lakh and finish the year at 2.5 lakh," says Kumar. Even though the RPC (readership per copy) of India Today is above five, Kumar would be happy with an RPC of two. "Our TG is a nuclear family, dual earning household; as we have cherry-picked our reader, an RPC of two would be a healthy number," he adds.

Open is not offering any freebies on subscription. "Open will be different. We want our reader to buy the magazine for its merit, rather than freebies on offer," says Nitin Garg, head, marketing, Open.

Therefore, the magazine is actively pursuing an alternate model of acquiring readers. "We have a database of our target audience that has passed through stringent filters. Open is sending an exclusive and personalized offer to these cherry-picked consumers, giving them an opportunity to experience the product for four issues free of cost," he adds.

Subsequently, feedback would be sought from this audience and they would be free to either continue buying the magazine from their newspaper vendor at the cover price, or choose not to read it anymore.

Open's size will be more than an inch wider than the standard A4 size of most of the magazines. Thus, when opened, the magazine gives an additional two inches for the content and also maximizes the ad impact. "The innovation has been done keeping the premium and up-market brand advertiser in mind. This extra space allows thorough value to the advertiser," says Kumar.

Open has a marketing budget of Rs 5 crore for the four to six weeks following the launch. The project cost is Rs 50 crore for the next three years, which includes the launch of at least three more magazines -- lifestyle, wellness and entertainment -- in the next one year.

The creative account for Open is being handled by Shop (of Freddy Birdy and Naved Akhtar). The media account is being handled by Zenith Optimedia. Open has planned a 360 degree communication strategy, which includes outdoor in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, multiplexes and the Internet. To start with, television isn't part of the media mix. "We'll be showing ad films in multiplexes, before movies that are frequented by our TG. Also, there will be buzz-marketing activities at malls to engage the TG," says Garg.

Also, Open will place reading dispensers at five-star hotel lobbies, airport lounges, premium bookstores, hypermarkets and café shops, where the reader can sample the magazine and even buy a year's subscription.