After being in the offing for a while now, Network18 has announced the demerger of Infomedia18's publishing business. With the development, the publishing business has been demerged and consolidated within Network18 under 'Network18 Publishing'.
The special interest magazines and business directories portfolio has been aligned under the new entity (Network18 Publishing). The printing press business will continue to remain with Infomedia18.
Network18 Publishing will encompass three divisions of Infomedia18's publishing business -- business to consumer (B2C) magazines, business to business (B2B) magazines and business directories division (BDD).
The B2C titles include Overdrive, Overdrive Hindi, Entrepreneur, Better Photography, Better Photography Hindi, Better Interiors, CHIP, T3 and AVMAX.
Among the B2B titles are Search, Auto Monitor, Modern Machine Tools, Chemical World, Modern Plastics & Polymers, Modern Packaging & Design, Modern Medicare, Modern Pharmaceuticals, Modern Food Processing, Smart Logistics and Aftermarket.
The Business Directories include multi-city editions of Yellow Pages Business Directories, Machine Tool Guide, Indian Exporters Guide, Construction and Interior Design Guide, Industries State Guide and Motor Pumps & Valves directories.
Network18 Publishing will also manage production and circulation operations for titles from the Forbes India stable, which currently includes Forbes India and Forbes Life India.
At the helm of things will be Sandeep Khosla, earlier chief executive officer, publishing, Infomedia18; he will now hold the designation of CEO, Network18 Publishing.
Khosla tells afaqs! that the consolidation is in the best interest of the network as it made little sense to operate as separate entities.
He adds that the potential in special interest magazines is only rising as opposed to the common consensus in the industry that magazines are witnessing lower interest than before.
"If you look at the available data, the clear indicator is that special interest magazines are going up in terms of readership. While general interest and entertainment magazines may have been witnessing a drop in numbers, the bigger story usually comes across as magazines are suffering," he says.
According to Khosla, the growth strategy ahead will depend on diversifying across media such as digital, on-ground and other value added services. He cites the examples of the auto magazines published by the company, which has delved into various available channels and even began publishing Hindi versions to serve a larger audience.
Next in line, he says, are the photography magazines.
"At Network18 Publishing, our growth strategy will evolve in line with an increasingly multi-platform publishing environment. Considering the strong traction of our brands in key consumer and business communities, our focus will be to leverage this across areas including print, new media, on-ground activation and value-added services. We hope to build on this further by maximising synergies with group platforms and in the process deepen engagement with our audiences and aid monetisation of our brands," says Khosla.
On the development, B Sai Kumar, group CEO, Network18 says in a press statement, "We believe that the special interest and B2B spaces will be one of the key drivers for publishing in India, both in print and new media. With Network18 Publishing, we've aligned our assets to capitalise on this trend both from a community building as well as a commercial perspective. Going forward, as publishing models develop, this alignment will significantly enhance our market proposition."