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INMA 4th Annual Conference: Niche calling for Newspapers

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | November 11, 2010
With the evolution of the newspaper industry, publishers will now have to look at niche papers as another revenue stream.

While the daily has been the engine of revenue for publishers for more than a decade now, the consumer is gradually turning selective about content. Therefore, newspaper publishers will have to look at "niche" papers, as an alternative to cater to the demands of various segments of readers. In the first session of the second day at the 4th Annual INMA South Asia Conference held at the Lalit in New Delhi on November 10, Maheshwer Peri, president and publisher, Outlook Group talked about the need for newspapers to venture into niche areas, which would also function as another stream of revenue.

Peri said, "Before launching any niche paper, the newspaper publication has to first understand if there is a need for a niche paper in the market; whether there are enough readers for the paper, who are willing to pay for the content. Once the publication has completed its research, the time for the launch of the niche paper has to be perfect."

According to Peri, in order to monetise the niche paper, the sales team needs to been given ample time to market the product. Therefore, there should be sufficient time between the launch announcement and the actual launch date. Niche supplements should be planned in advance, as they have limited audience.

Peri further cautioned, "Newspaper publishers need to be very cautious with content, as in the case of niche supplements, even the advertisers are niche. So, one has to ensure that advertisers are not able to dominate the content. Furthermore, publications need to invest in journalists who have specialised in particular domains."

Peri then cited how Outlook Group has successfully brought international magazines, such as like People and Geo, into India, and has localised the content to fit the needs of Indian audiences.

He explained, "We launched the localised version of People, as we felt that India has failed at celebrity journalism; and this is where People as a magazine excels. There is a big market for such magazines. In the case of Geo, the magazine caters to almost everyone in a family, as its content is a mix of history, culture and science. Magazines like Geo are easy to launch as the content remains the same; it is only the languages that changes. Hence, the cost of creating content is zero, which is a winning formula for any publication."

For Peri, the time has come for newspapers to look at other avenues, and niche supplements can be one of the best ways to get closer to the readers.

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