Starting next month, Sports Illustrated will bear a cover price of Rs 30, rather than the usual Rs 100. This offer, whose purpose is to support the marketing campaign being launched by the Indian edition of the magazine from May 1, will continue for at least three months.
Sports Illustrated was launched in India in October last year. This year being a sporting extravaganza -- with Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cup and T20 Championship trophy lined up -- the company has decided to up its marketing quotient. It is spending about Rs 20 lakh on the promotional activity.
The monthly offering made its debut in India in collaboration with Time Inc., The Sports Illustrated Group and Dennis Media TransAsia India.
Considering that India is a price-sensitive market, going back to the original price after being available for a discount may become tough for the magazine. Downey, however, is confident that it won't affect the readership of the magazine adversely; rather, it would help in strengthening the subscription model for the magazine.
"Once this discount gets over, we will introduce a subscription model for the readers, which will be kept in such a way that each issue will be priced at around Rs 30," he explains.
"We have a fantastic product; but now we need to focus on circulation as well. We want to kick on to the next level and grow our readership and make it more price-accessible," Downey adds.
At present, around 25 per cent of the issues every month are sold through subscriptions; but the company is expecting a substantial jump in the percentage of subscriptions after this exercise, once the magazine has been sampled by more people.
The magazine's May issue features an in-depth cover story on Sania Mirza, and how despite both praise and criticism, she is as determined and focused as ever. The release of this issue will be supported by the integrated marketing campaign. The June issue of the magazine will focus on football, and will also have a 36-page guide for FIFA World Cup.
The campaign will be divided into three phases. In the first phase, the brand will introduce the discounted edition in the market, which will be followed by substantial consumer marketing. The company has planned a detailed marketing strategy that will involve outdoor, print and SMS campaigns. The outdoor campaign for the magazine will be strategically placed in around 40-50 locations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurgaon and other cities.
The primary target audience of the magazine comprises males in the age group of 25-45 years, and the secondary target group is everyone who is a sports fan.
Sports Illustrated has a circulation of 1 lakh currently. The company does not plan any increase in the print run as of now; but it will base its future decisions about this on the reader response it gets in the initial days.