Rachit Vats

<FONT COLOR="#FF0033"><B>IMC 2006:</B></FONT> Magazines need to promote themselves better

In the second session of the Indian Magazine Congress 2006, publishers and editors discussed ways to better promote magazines

The second session of the Indian Magazine Congress 2006 held in New Delhi on October 30, 2006, saw the panelists vent their energies, discussing probable growth strategies for magazines in English and Indian languages. The speakers wondered about that big, elusive idea which magazines could imbibe and which would help them capture readership traffic!

Moderated by Rahul Sen, promoter, Alchemy Social Infrastructure, the speakers at the session included Paresh Nath, managing director, Delhi Press; Mahesh Peri, president and publisher, Outlook Group; Ashish Bagga, chief executive officer, ‘India Today’; and Pramath Sinha, managing director, ABP Group.

Sen threw the ‘big idea’ question to the speakers. He wondered whether it was time now for magazines to reposition themselves. Bagga opened the session with his comments. He said, “Magazines need to constantly reinvent themselves. Consumers read newspapers, but they also read magazines. That is why advertisers go for both. But magazines should find a way to attract more readers. Also, if a publisher thinks that he should roll out multiple titles and magazines, he should do that as long as he can manage them effectively.”

Sinha agreed with Bagga’s opinion. He added, “Consumers (readers) have become very demanding. Publishers and editors need to map the consumers’ demands and address them properly. There are not many marketers in India who know how to promote a media product effectively. That trick should be learnt and developed. The Internet can be seen as one of the big ideas and a parallel platform for magazines.”

To another query as to whether there could come a time when consumers might get magazines free, Nath said, “Pricing has become an important factor for magazines as newspapers have been constantly keeping prices low. But such a model cannot work. Eventually, prices will have to be raised.”

Bagga had a different take on this query. According to him, at the end of the day, dropping prices is the publisher’s call. He is the one who can decide which business model to adopt. However, Bagga said he believed strategies like price dropping were short-term strategies.

Amidst all this discussion, Prabhu Chawla, editor, ‘India Today’, who was part of the audience, asked why there was so much focus on content and so little discussion on the marketing of magazines. There was universal agreement that the focus should be on finding ways to market the media product more effectively.

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