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Women's health and fitness magazines: What's the future?

By Sumantha Rathore , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | April 03, 2012
The India Today Group has launched its second title in the women's health space. But are there any takers?

The Indian Today Group has launched its second title in the women's health and fitness space after Prevention. The new title is called Women's Health. While Prevention is targeted at 30-40-year old women, Women's Health has a slightly younger profile - women in the age group of 20-30 years.

The India edition of Women's Health will have 10 issues every year, with bimonthly editions for the months of January-February and July-August.

Mala Sekhri

The title, which carries the tagline 'Fit is the new sexy', will have a cover price of Rs 100 and will have an initial print of 45,000 copies. It is targeted at single women who are active, accomplished and health conscious.

Highlighting the difference between Prevention and Women's Health, Mala Sekhri, COO, lifestyle and music, India Today Group, says, "The core TG (target group) of the magazines are very different from each other. While Women's Health is about overall fitness, looking sexy and staying toned up, Prevention is for the older women who want to live right, eat right and look after their parents. The latter is very health-oriented, whereas the new title is fitness-specific."

Some other key differentiators between the two titles are that while there is no fashion content in Prevention, Women's Health has regular style and shopping sections, and while the latter addresses the single mindset, Prevention is for family-oriented women. Another visible differentiator is the size of the two magazines; while Women's Health has a large format (A4 size), Prevention is a small-format magazine (digest size).

At a time when overall magazines are seeing a decline in readership, mainly due to the explosion of content on the web and free newspaper supplements, the viability of a super-niche magazine remains a question mark.

afaqs! spoke to a few media planners.


Amin Lakhani

R S Suriyanarayanan

According to Amin Lakhani, head, exchange, Mindshare Media, it's a natural progression to move from general interest to niche - be it television or print. However, while he accepts that magazines are slowly losing relevance, he adds that the ray of hope is that niche magazines are doing better in India compared to the rest of the world. "Publications are trying to figure a way out," he further adds.

Lakhani opines that in India, women are becoming more conscious of their health and fitness, and if the content is credible then it will add to the product's value.

R S Suriyanarayanan, business director, Lintas Media Group, says, "Though every women's magazine has a health section and they generally cater to a regular reader's requirements, it will satiate the requirements of health freaks who need a detailed reading on a regular basis. As a monthly, it can sustain with sizeable numbers," he asserts.

A senior media planner, on condition of anonymity, says that not more than 10 per cent women readers would be serious enough to pick up a health and fitness magazine. "I'm not sure if it would make much of a business sense unless there is some kind of a larger tie up with the brand or the brand itself is into fitness products. Women's lifestyle magazines have a larger appeal and are a safer choice for the advertisers, says the planner.

Another senior planner is of the opinion that the Rs 100 cover price will act as a deterrent. "The question is whether the urban, giggly, SEC A&B women of the metros are willing to pay Rs 100 to read health and fitness content. With smartphones and social media taking up most of the time, internet has got all the relevant editorial stuff."

Meanwhile, the India Today group is trying hard to give the magazine the necessary push. To increase sampling, the group has tied up with 25 outlets of Gold's Gym across the country, and other fitness clinics.

"These places have the perfect environment for sampling as well as purchase," says Sekhri. The group plans to launch a TVC to highlight 'how it no longer matters if you have a very pretty face, what matters is a well-toned, fit body'.

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