After staying out of the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) for three years, Businessworld has made a forceful re-entry with exit figures of 1.27 lakh, ahead of its rival Business Today (exit figures: 1.22 lakh) for the period July-December 2002. Businessworld had an entry figure of 1.01 lakh compared to Business Today's 1.22 lakh for the period under consideration. This, claims the Businessworld marketing team, proves that Businessworld's circulation is growing while Business Today has more or less stagnated at the same levels.
While Business Today is still ahead in terms of overall average - 1.21 lakh compared to Businessworld's 1.10 lakh - the weekly business magazine took a lead in the crucial metro markets. Points out Ravinder Dang, product manager, Businessworld, "If the total circulation of the top five markets (from the point of view of advertisers or media planners) - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore - is taken into account, we are ahead of Business Today." The cumulative circulation figure of Businessworld in these five cities stands at 62,951, against Business Today's 61,859.
Meanwhile, Business Today associate publisher (impact & marketing), Barun Das, told agencyfaqs!, the ABC entry and exit figures mattered little as the fortnightly lead in the overall average and in the readership surveys as well. "Advertisers go by readership," he said.
On their part, Businessworld officials point to the fact that the magazine outsells Business Today in the Top 8 cities. While the total circulation in the top eight metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune - of Businessworld stands at 76,581, that of Business Today is 73,268. To be specific, Businessworld outsells Business Today in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, while the latter leads in the markets of Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune.
Registering a higher circulation than Business Today seems to be a vindication of sorts. The decision of Businessworld to be absent from the ABC ("for historical reasons", as a senior company official puts it) was an opportunity well exploited by competition, say BW executives. "Competition tried to raise doubts (about our circulation figures), which of course had to be checked. We felt the need to get back to ABC to quell all doubts," says Dang.
Armed with the ABC figures, Businessworld plans to go on an overdrive to communicate their new lead to advertisers. On the roll is a direct communication exercise to promote the latest ABC certified figures. Also in the pipeline is a campaign to promote the Businessworld brand.
The growth in the circulation is an outcome of the continuous efforts of the editorial and marketing teams, say Businessworld officials. The brief for the marketing team at Businessworld was pretty clear: Reach the people who count. In that context, the weekly has put in a considerable amount of effort in the last one year to "create a buzz around the brand" and reach "the relevant SEC A and B population". To this end, Businessworld organised the 'Most Respected Company Awards' in Mumbai in January this year, which, company officials claim, received a fantastic response. Before that, in Kolkata, the group organised the 'Infocom 2002' event in association with NASSCOM. Another major event lined up by the magazine is the Businessworld NID (National Institute of Design) Design Awards, which will be hosted this June in Delhi.
In the last one year, Businessworld has also come out with special publications to reach out to specific audiences. To reach out to the management graduates and to those with a management bent of mind, Businessworld released the Case Study Special and the Mega B-School Guide earlier this year. In the pipeline is a special marketing reference book called the Businessworld Marketing White Book 2003-04.
Talking about the improvements made to the weekly, Tony Joseph, consulting editor, Businessworld, said, "We have made use of the weekly-ness of the product more effectively in recent times." He added: "We have become the agenda setter in the Indian business community. That has begun showing in the figures." © 2003 agencyfaqs!