Alokananda Chakraborty

USP Age takes an "integrated approach" to advertising, marketing and PR

Even as Pitch, the print offering from, tries to get a foothold in the advertising, media and marketing segment, USP Age, with the editor-publisher team of AB Ravi and CD Ramachandran, casts its lot with the ad, marketing and PR crowd

"We felt there is a vacuum in the market and above all, no single vehicle where a reader can get to know about advertising, marketing and PR put together," says AB Ravi, editor of USP Age, a monthly magazine launched on November 6. Ravi, along with old friend CD Ramachandran, founder-promoter of Imageads, who is also the publisher of the magazine, saw merit in filling the void left by the likes of A&M and The Brief:, and the result, he claims, is a 96-page "well segmented" tome.

"News, views and journalistic stories are clearly demarcated in the magazine," says Ravi, former executive editor of Business India. "There are eight pages devoted to news called Quick Fix where the reader can quickly catch up with developments in the ad, marketing and PR industry. Almost 30 per cent of the magazine has been earmarked for expert opinions and views via columns while journalistic contributions will be in the form of interesting stories," he says.

Coming a month after website launched the inaugural issue of Pitch, an ad, media and marketing magazine, USP Age has been competitively priced at Rs 40 to Pitch's Rs 50. Indeed, as analysts maintain, for a niche, which is slowly enticing players back into the fray, the key to survival will be a combination of cover price and advertising revenue. "The phenomenon of magazines occupying the ad, media, marketing, PR segment and the like is not exactly demand-led," explains Sundeep Nagpal, managing director, Stratagem Media. "Like most other new product categories, it is supply, which is fuelling demand. At any level today, be it senior, junior or mid level, there is a lot to read both in print as well as on the net. Hence, what will set aside one magazine from the other is key product differentiators," he says.

For Pitch, this translates into an in-depth look at marketing and media issues, as stated by Amit Agnihotri, editor, in an earlier interview with agencyfaqs!. "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. Online dissemination services are doing a good job, but the need for industry surveys and research remain. Pitch over time will fill this gap."

USP Age, meanwhile, is banking on a mix of good stories and insights in the form of columns as well as ‘snippety' information to do the trick. "Our cover story in the current issue talks about how the stock markets kill brands," says Ravi. "Except for news, the rest of the magazine has terrific shelf life," he adds.

Distributed by India Book House (IBH), the initial print run of USP Age is 25,000 copies. "On-stand sales, don't really generate revenue for a magazine," says Ravi. "The factor here is how you can ramp up circulation, which in turn, drives advertising revenue." Nagpal of Stratagem holds a similar opinion. "Dependence on advertising revenue is quite high and the categories one can tap for generating revenue include media brands, high-value items, luxury products, airlines, credit cards, five-star hotels and so on," he says.

In the end, what matters is reader response and this, according to Nagpal, largely depends on the treatment of the magazine or subject. "It is treatment that really counts because that is what will determine your positioning and consequently the advertiser response," he adds. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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