Four-month-old Sakhi, the monthly women's magazine in Hindi from the Dainik Jagran Group of Publications, has set an ambitious sales target for itself. One lakh copies by the year-end. To achieve this, Dainik Jagran is following a two-tier strategy. Top on its agenda is a plan to go whole hog on ground activities and second, advertise heavily through the print medium. Though the ad budget is modest, at about Rs 1 crore, the publication hopes to make a dent through a clever mix of top-line and below-the-line activities. Through its ground activities, Sakhi plans to cover Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Lucknow, Chandigarh and Ludhiana this year.
Considering the latest ABC figures for women's magazines in Hindi and English, Sakhi has an enormous task ahead. The circulation of Grihshobha, which stood at 3,27,955 in July-December 1999, rose marginally to 3,33,651 in July-December 2000. Meri Saheli did a little better; its circulation rose from 2,96,134 to 3,01,864 during the same period. Sarita rose marginally - from 1,52,261 to 1,53,082 in that period - and Femina actually fell from 1,39,888 to 1,28,348. Pitched against such well-established competition will Sakhi realise its goals?
Alok Sanwal, brand manager, Dainik Jagran Group of Publications, appears confident. "If you look at the audited circulation figures of Sakhi for April 2001, we got a circulation of 49,645 copies across the country. Though we don't have certified figures thereafter, we can safely say the response has been good. For example, in May we sold 600 copies in Patna and in June the figure almost doubled to 1,100 copies. Seventeen hundred copies of the July issue have been circulated already in Patna. We have done equally well in Bareilly, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow and Delhi. In fact, 20-25 per cent of the total sale comes from Delhi."
Advertiser response has been better than expected, feels Sanwal. "Sakhi has done good enough, keeping in the mind that we are just four month old in this category. Advertisers like Revlon, Nestle, Dabur, Emami, Gloria and a number of FMCG advertisers have already started considering Sakhi as part of their media plans."
The pricing of the magazine is an important factor that will give it a clear edge over other magazines, says Sanwal. "When we conducted a pre-launch survey, we saw the magazines that were available in the category we wanted to tap, were priced between Rs 40 and Rs 50. For example, Elle and Cosmopolitan are available at Rs 50, and Femina comes for Rs 30. At the other end are magazines like Grihshobha and Meri Saheli at Rs 20. We were clear that we didn't want to get into a fight with those at the lower rung of the ladder. Our strategy is simple. Price the offering at Rs 30, a little lower than the Elles and the Cosmos, and get readers hooked on to the magazine with quality editorial. Once we are able to garner a captive readership, the idea is to take the price a little higher."
Dainik Jagran is working aggressively on its ground plans. It has tied up with NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) to sponsor its annual fashion show, which is scheduled for the second week of August. It is looking at a similar partnership with Balaji Telefilms. "The idea is to integrate Sakhi in the story line of Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. This will help us achieve our objective of striking the right association. In fact, we were present at the recently held ABBY awards as a sponsor, and we organised the recent Falguni Pathak show as well."
The print campaign of Sakhi will follow soon. "In the first phase of the launch, we had carried ads in The Brief, Solus and A&M magazines as these magazines cater specifically to the advertisers and the advertising agencies. We have also used Femina, Cosmopolitan and Swagat (the in-flight magazine of Indian Airlines) to communicate to the potential readers. Besides these, we are doing the usual thing - talking to the media planners etc - and telling them Sakhi is not just another women's magazine. It is for the woman who is independent in her thinking and conscious of her identity," explains Sanwal.
Dainik Jagran will leverage its strong distribution network to optimise Sakhi's circulation. "We have been circulating in almost all Hindi markets. You would find Sakhi in the leading book stalls at Bangalore and Chennai also. More than 3,000 copies of Sakhi are being sent to Calcutta every month."
While it seems to have its plans in place, observers are divided on the potential of the magazine. According to the marketing head of a top weekly magazine, "Achieving a sales target of 1 lakh copies is a tall claim, for a magazine like Sakhi which is trying to be a Hindi Femina. Because the magazine addresses a niche within a niche. One, it is targeting the market for women's magazines, and two, within that, they are looking at a very distinct 'type' of woman. That, by definition, is a very restrictive approach."
In contrast, Anita Nayyar, associate vice-president, Grey Worldwide, who was involved in the launch of Sakhi, (that is, before the advertising account of Dainik Jagran went to Mudra Communications), insists that there is a market for a magazine like Sakhi, "Upper class Hindi speaking/reading women did not have a choice till now. They either had to go for a Grihshobha, which is traditional, at times even old-fashioned, or for Elle, Cosmo or Femina that they could not relate with. They considered these magazines as the 'flip-through' kind. We realised that there was a gap in the market that was not addressed by any of these magazines. And this slot was big enough for the commercial survival of a new magazine."
In the same vein, Ritu Raizada, media services director, HTA, says, "Sakhi has the potential to attract advertisers. And I would certainly consider Sakhi to advertise premium products or top-of-the-line consumer durables." While another media planner clarifies that while a magazine like IAGT - ('It's a guy thing'), Man's World or Sakhi could be good, both in terms of content and looks, the advertising pie has shrunk. "This is because television is practically ruling our lives and the kind of readers Sakhi is targeting would be glued to a TV rather than a magazine," he says.
Notwithstanding the odds, Sanwal and his team are pretty gung-ho about the prospects of Sakhi.
© 2001 agencyfaqs!