Pioneer Publishing bags the contract for Rail Bandhu

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | March 07, 2011
The media company will produce the monthly in-train magazine for the Indian Railways.

The Pioneer Group, publishers of the English daily The Pioneer, has bagged the contract to publish Rail Bandhu, India's first magazine for train passengers. The three-year long contract had five contenders.

The first edition of the magazine will be published on April 16, and will be distributed free of cost in the premium trains. The magazine will be distributed in 96 trains everyday. This includes 21 Rajdhani Express trains, 13 Shatabdi Express trains, and 14 Duronto Express trains, plying on various routes of the country.

Confirming the development to afaqs!, Durbar Ganguly, joint managing director, The Pioneer Group, says, "The magazine will reflect the spirit of the frequent traveller, his aspirations in an emergent India, his connectedness to the changing world around him, and more importantly, to the Indian families that use the vast railway network to plan holidays. The romance of rail lies in these long journeys, and the magazine should add to that experience."

The content mix of the title will include news, railway events and features, along with stories that promote tourism in the country. The business model of this magazine will be similar to that followed by in-flight magazines. The publishers will take care of everything, right from the content, the layout, to the ad sales. All costs will be borne by the publishers. The group is expecting a total readership of about 30 lakh every month for the magazine. Derek O'Brien is heading the magazine project for the Indian Railways.

The full-page ad in the magazine will cost Rs 3.5 lakh. While the inside cover will be available for Rs 4.5 lakh, the back cover, the double spread, and the gate fold will be for Rs 6 lakh, Rs 6.5 lakh, and Rs 7 lakh, respectively.

The Pioneer Group was the highest bidder, and as per the contract, the group will pay Indian Railways Rs 4.5 crore, in a span of three years.

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