Devesh Gupta
Media

Indian Magazine Congress: Online Content = Information Overload?

With increasing pressure of producing online content, do publications, and ultimately their readers, suffer the risk of content overload?

The Association of Indian Magazine recently concluded the 8th edition of its Indian Magazine Congress in New Delhi. The two day event was held on February 24 and 25. It saw participation from major players in the print industry, media agencies and brand representatives. The theme for this year's event was 'Winning Through Innovation'.

Indian Magazine Congress: Online Content = Information Overload?
Many topics were discussed: Social media, reach, B2B publishing, regional magazines and more. One of the sessions was about whether the increasing pressure of producing content online can lead to information overload. Panelists comprised Anant Nath, editor, Carvan and director, Delhi Press; DN Mukerjea, editor, Fortune India; Fiona Mcintosh, editor, Grazia; Prasanto K Roy, editorial advisor, CyberMedia and Tanya Chaitanya, editor, Femina (moderator).

Nath began the session by pointing out that digital media has brought about a revolution in the world of content, by democraticising it. "Today there is a lot of pressure to create content for the online medium, and this takes a toll on the journalists, who have to go out and report. Content is no longer a monopoly of a few guys, and a traditional media house is competing for the same thing that a blogger is doing. It is a matter of eyeballs," he said.

Mcintosh who comes from a fashion background, stated that there is a need for publications to look at themselves as brands, and not just as magazines "Today, there is a race to capture virality on social media, so we need better pictures, people, comments and everything that gives us this virality," she said, citing examples of bloggers from different countries, who are popular not just in their countries but across the globe.

For Mukerjea, it's up to the publication to choose what needs to be done. "Publications need to play to their strengths. They need to pick their topics and keep working on it," he explains.

Roy reminded the audience of a time long gone: When digital was not as prevalent in India as it is today, the magazine PC Quest provided a free CD to buyers, which meant 700 megabytes of content. "Digital is fast growing in India; it is all about subscriptions, time spent, bounce rate, shares and social media reach," said Roy.

Mcintosh added that today magazines are fast integrating with social media and e-commerce to create new avenues of business. "It is important to give the stories a global platform," she said.

Regarding magazine advertorials, Mukerjea said magazines need to demarcate between their core content and advertorials. "There has to be certain sanctity of the product. You have to be very careful with the content," he cautioned.