Come November, readers will find their copies of Intelligent Investor (from Hathway Investments, publishers of Outlook) looking and reading different. And perhaps lighter on the pocket. Intelligent Investor, which was launched in July 1998, is being relaunched as Outlook Money. The new avatar of Intelligent Investor will have five to six new sections and the number of pages is likely to go up from the current 64-72 to 72-80. The publication is also dabbling with the idea of revising the current cover price of Rs 15.
The question is, what really prompted the publication to rebrand Intelligent Investor? After all, in four years' time, the fortnightly has managed a reasonable circulation base of one lakh plus (of which 73,246 comes from subscription and the balance 27,520 comes from stand sales). Company executives say the crux of the move is perception correction.
Surveys done by the group showed that there was a whole bunch of people who perceived of Intelligent Investor as a magazine that deals with 'investing' rather than on issues involving spending or borrowing money. "We found that the word Investor inhibited the scope of the magazine. Though the catchline 'Invest Well, Borrow Wisely, Spend Smartly' summed up the intent of the magazine very succinctly, the word investment did trigger a bit of confusion in the reader's mind," explains Maheshwer Peri, publisher, Outlook.
And that, feels the group, deterred non-readers from trying out the magazine. "Which, in turn, could partly explain why the magazine has been stagnating for quite some time now," says an executive close to the event. But as an observer points out, "Intelligent Investor is to be partly blamed for this impression because if you look over a one-year time span you will see a larger percentage of the cover stories are based on investing in shares or in the stock market."
Anyway, it's time to change now. As Peri points out, "The word money encompasses the entire range and scope of the magazine since the content is about getting more value out for your money."
But a key question here is, how will the current readers of Intelligent Investor take to the changes? After all, the brand name is the first point of contact the reader makes with the magazine before browsing through its content. "Our subscribers will be mailed Outlook Money with a letter from the editor informing them about the name change. As for those who purchase from the newsstands, they will get to know about the changes from the hawker. So, in my view, there is no real issue here," assures Peri.
Perception is one problem before Intelligent Investor. The second, and the more important reason, emphasises Peri, is refining the publication's long-term strategy. "We have decided to highlight the Outlook lineage. Now on, all our future and current magazines will bear the name Outlook. With the exception of Intelligent Investor, the rest have always had Outlook as part of their title. Take the recently launched Outlook Traveller, Outlook Saptahik and Outlook Weekend Breaks, for example."
But prefixing Outlook to all the titles of the group may prove to be a double-edged sword. "What if one of the Outlook magazine fails to perform? That would badly reflect on the mother brand Outlook. I think they are playing a dangerous game here," speculates a publication industry veteran.
Despite such issues, the Outlook brass seems confident of the move. Currently, there is no direct competition to Outlook Money. While there is Dalal Street Journal on the one hand, and three hardcore business magazines on the other, Intelligent Investor is the sole player in the niche it created four years back. "Perhaps that gives the magazine some leeway to experiment," opines a media observer.
While that may be the case, the point is, the changes in the magazine need to be supported by a concerted marketing push to be able to convert new readers to its fold. © 2002 agencyfaqs!