Devesh Gupta

National Geographic and The Economist go hand in hand

The two niche magazines unveil a joint subscription package that costs the consumer Rs 6,000 a year.

Two popular niche magazines, National Geographic and The Economist are running a joint subscription package to lure readers. A yearly subscription for this joint package costs Rs 6,000. Compared to each magazine's subscription without the joint offer, it is a steal.

National Geographic and The Economist go hand in hand
National Geographic and The Economist go hand in hand
National Geographic and The Economist go hand in hand
National Geographic and The Economist go hand in hand
On the websites, The Economist's yearly subscription costs Rs 6,000, which includes weekly delivery of the magazine, full access to the, The Economist in audio, access through apps for iPads, iPhone, Android, and others, a subscription to the National Geographic (part of ACK Media) magazine costs Rs 2,875 along with a gift.

The joint subscription package was started in February this year and its marketing has mostly been done through social media, mailer activities and several offline platforms. While National Geographic deals with nature, the Economist is a current affairs publication which covers politics, business, science and technology, books and arts.

"The results have been overwhelming," says Manas Mohan, CEO, publishing, ACK Media. "Ten per cent of our total subscriptions have already happened through this year." Putting a number to it, Suprio Guha Thakurta, managing director, India and managing director, circulation, Asia Pacific, The Economist Group, says, "There have been more than 500 subscriptions so far."

It is not common to see magazines from different companies being bundled together and sold for subscriptions by the brands themselves. But The Economist seems to be doing it quite readily. It already has an offer running with Harvard Business Review and is in conversations with other publishers in other territories.

Speaking on the subject, Mohan, says, "It has not been done in India mostly because magazines are protective about their territories which prevents them from doing it. I am glad that the Economist was open to it. The partnership helps each other understand what their values are, what customer needs and how you can offer them."

The idea of the proposition was to make a bigger noise together and reach out to a large number of people without attempting to occupy each others territories. Speaking on the reason for choosing National Geographic as their partner, Thakurta says, "Both The Economist and Nat Geo are read by people with intense curiosity about the world. We think both the brands appeal to the part of the brain which drives the need for intellectual satisfaction." Mohan adds that both are high value (relatively expensive), and with similar audiences that do not want to see Bollywood celebs on the cover page all the time. "It is liked by those who want to see and learn more about the world around a little better, " adds Mohan.

The initiative has been a learning one for both magazines. Both Mohan and Thakurta are of the opinion that once you offer a good value proposition to the consumer, they are willing to take that and prices no longer are a limiting factor. Plus, the chances of conversion are higher. The monthly circulation for National Geographic magazine is over 1,00,000, while that of the Economist is over 35,000 (weekly).

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