The advertising and marketing space in magazines was ruled by fortnightly A&M for more than a decade till it disappeared from the newsstands recently. As the slot remains vacant, the media industry has boomed, carving another niche alongside advertising and marketing. While a host of online news portals colonise the territory, a print magazine has yet to make its presence felt.
Sensing an opportunity, portal exchange4media has launched Pitch, a media, advertising and marketing magazine, priced at Rs 50. The monthly magazine was launched on October 6 with a print run of 20,000 copies in Delhi and Mumbai.
Talking about the rationale for getting into print, Amit Agnihotri, editor, Pitch, says, "The marketing, advertising and media domain is an information and knowledge intensive industry. Professionals need information, analysis and perspectives as their jobs get more complicated, the consumer mindspace gets crowded and the marketplace gets cluttered with more offerings. While the current online information dissemination services like exchange4media and agencyfaqs! are doing a good job, information needs - especially industry surveys and research and in-depth look at marketing and media issues - remain. Pitch over time will fill this gap."
"There is a gap," agrees a senior media executive at Mudra. "The format of Pitch is quite like A&M and going by some of the articles in the first issue - for example, the one on the two-wheeler category - the magazine definitely fulfills an information need."
But the portal exchange4media also professes to fulfill the same need. Does that mean the magazine is a more in-depth version of the website? Agnihotri disagrees. "Pitch is not meant for newsy reporting. But to pause, reflect, analyse, present developments for marketing and media decision makers. It is not an extension of exchange4media.com. exchange4media.com will remain our key offering."
While Pitch is leveraging the industry database available with exchange4media for sampling, the monthly will try to reach its target through a combination of on-stand sales and subscription. To begin with, 5,000 copies of the first issue of Pitch were put on stands.
While the media house claims the response to the magazine has been "good", many see the price as a deterrent. Sulina Menon, CEO, Aegis, for one, says, "For a monthly, the price of Pitch is steep." However, Anurag Batra, managing director, exchange4media.com, and publisher, Pitch, assures, "The price will match the value Pitch delivers."
While content will ultimately determine the fate of the product, attracting advertisers is equally important for sustenance. "It was not difficult getting advertisements for Pitch," says Batra. "We did mailers on exchange4media.com and that worked very well. We got a lot of queries from the mailers. Then the industry bought into our content plan and our distribution, marketing and subscription plan. In addition, the positive experience of advertisers with the exchange4media special print issues also helped."
While the Pitch team refuses to talk about the investments being made in promoting the magazine (citing company policy), the company did dwell on the promotional strategy. "We used exchange4media.com to build excitement and anticipation by interactive mailers. We advertised on seven domestic airports and in some business publications. In addition to that, direct mailers were sent to supplement online mailers." Batra excitedly concludes, "The subsequent issues of Pitch will mirror the response." © 2003 agencyfaqs!