The Caravan goes for complete makeover

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 31, 2009
A year after its re-launch, the monthly magazine from Delhi Press is being revamped as it seeks to re-position itself in a new genre

In a bid to create a distinct market for itself and add new readers while retaining the old ones, Delhi Press has revamped its monthly English magazine, The Caravan. The change focuses on a different form of writing, drawing inspiration from magazines such as The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly. The publishers claim that it will be India's first magazine with a purely narrative form of writing.

The Caravan, the first offering from Delhi Press which started almost 70 years ago, was discontinued in the 1980's. It was re-launched in December 2008 as a 68 page fortnightly. In October 2009, the magazine became a monthly.

& #BANNER1 & #Anant Nath, managing editor, The Caravan, shares that even in December 2008, they knew it wasn't the definitive shape of the magazine and the product needed to be developed further but admits that a re-launch wasn't a part of the original plan.

"We never got criticism of the magazine. We were testing waters and gathering the feedback of the readers. Though they liked the content of the magazine, we realised that there was a certain zing-factor missing. From a more academic journal look, we transformed it into a contemporary magazine and moved to true blue narrative journalism," says Nath. The target readership is the curious intellectual Indian who loves to read books, has a taste for music and art, he adds.

While the print run was 12,000 copies last month, 20,000 copies of the January issue have been printed. The company expects sales in the range of 10,000-15,000 copies for the revamped edition. The price has also been hiked by about 14 per cent and will cost Rs 40 instead of the earlier Rs 35. The new 116-page magazine is in a slightly larger format. The January issue has 12 pages of advertisements, including those of brands such as Porsche and Swatch. The new edition will be available in the market on January 1.

"We are re-positioning the magazine in a different space. We do not want to be an extended version of a newspaper by providing content on what happened during a week or a fortnight. We will have both domestic and international stories but with in depth, long form reportage. We seek to give timeless essays. Even the shorter stories will have a literary fare," says Vinod K Jose, deputy editor, The Caravan. The cover story of the January issue will be on the Indian lobby in the USA, written by Miranda Kennedy.

The publishers have roped in 11 writers of international repute, including Siddartha Deb, Bashrat Peer and Fatima Bhutto as contributing editors. The designing of the new edition has been done by a small team of fresh graduates from the National School of Design. However, the company was not willing to share the details of the investment made towards the revamp.