Indian Magazine Congress: "Advertisers celebrate the ‘feel’ of print"

Tarun Rai: ‘At 4 per cent of ad spend, share of magazines can only go up’ Tarun Rai of WWM noted that technology is providing newer opportunities for magazines, even as traditional magazines are growing 

16 Feb 2013 | By Mihir Joshi

Welcoming delegates was AIM president Tarun Rai, CEO, WWM, who expanded on the theme ‘New directions. New opportunities.’

Quoting statistics on the growth of smart phones and tablet computers, he noted that while it took seven years for 20 million smart phones to be sold, tablets reached the figure in 20 months. With another data point, he explained the potential tablets held for magazine publishers and advertisers.

Rai said, “Readers have been found to spend 45 minutes on the print version of a magazine, versus 160 minutes on the tablet. Technology is providing newer opportunities; that is not to say that traditional magazines are not growing.” He also cited FIPP’s prediction that more magazines will be launched in 2013 than in 2012.

While ceding that magazines in India still account for a small share of ad revenues in India, he pointed to a Madison Media study that put this figure at around four per cent.

“In more mature magazine markets, this figure is far higher – 17 per cent in the US, 18 per cent in Germany, 15 per cent in France and 11 per cent in Italy. At 4 per cent of ad spend, share of magazines in India can only go up,” surmised Rai, setting the tone for the current edition of the Indian Magazine Congress.

Magazines engage 50% of their readership

The keynote session by Peter Kreisky, the senior strategy advisor, Media Industry. Specialist in Transformation for Digital Era presented an interesting insight into the rapidly evolving American magazine industry and how digitisation has become unavoidable in the era of multi-platform magazines. Though he conceded that print still remains the major contributor to a publishers revenue and still engages about 50% of their readership, but the numbers are dwindling quickly.

He urged publishers to reassess their business model in tune to the technological changes which are sweeping through the industry. Based on his years of experience in the American magazine publishing industry, Kreisky said, "The rules that the industry plays by are rapidly changing. In the digital age, trusted magazines with valued content and the capabilities to engage the community on different platforms will have an upper hand."

"According to a recent study in the United States, about 90% of all media interactions are screen-based and on an average people send 4.4 hours of their time in front of a screen." he added.

These technological changes according to require reshuffling in organisations. A modern publishinghouse has to be brand driven and flexible enough to incorporate multiple business models and cost structures. He also stressed on. The importance of social media platforms to connect with the readers.

Peter Kreisky is an expert on the strategic transformation of traditional publishing companies for the digital age. He runs a New York-based strategy consulting and advisory firm focused on the global media and entertainment Industry. Kreisky Media advises clients on strategy at the intersection of media and technology.

Advertisers celebrate the ‘feel’ of print

BBDO’s Josy Paul, Volkswagen’s Lutz Kothe, DDB Mudra’s Sonal Dabral and L’oreal’s Satyaki Ghosh discussed advertising creativity and magazines

Day one of the seventh Indian Magazine Congress saw two advertisers and two creative heads discussing 'Advertising creativity and magazine media'.

Lutz Kothe, chief general manager, marketing and PR, Volkswagen India, started off with innovations the German company has tried in its advertising in India – including one that was turned down. "My team asked me to advertise on the front page of Autocar India. I spoke to Hormazd Sorabjee, editor, Autocar India, and gave him this idea. He refused," said Kothe.

Kothe went on to say that India was the only market where the niche and general magazine market was growing. Looking ahead, Kothe said that without doubt, there would be more integration of print with digital. "The simple reasoning behind this is, India has more mobilephones than toilets", he explained.

Kothe went on to show examples of Volkswagen's innoways (innovative ways of advertising) in print in India. These included the 'Talking Newspaper' and 'Post it' campaigns.

BBDO India's chairman and chief creative officer Josy Paul compared the print magazine to a baby. "You need to pick it up and hold it. Magazines have corners which can be touched while reading. The smell gets to you as you carry on reading the magazine. A baby cannot be swiped at like you handle an iPad or some another tablet. That's the difference between print and other media," said Paul, and went on to show some innovative international print campaigns.

Satyaki Ghosh, director, consumer products, L'Oreal India, revealed the importance of print for the brand. "L'Oreal was the seventh largest advertiser on television last year. But, I promise print is still very important for the group and makes up a high portion of our spends. The group will not be leaving print", said Ghosh.

Ghosh explained how print is the only place where a brand like L'Oreal could educate people. "TVCs are 20-seconders and outdoors are passed even faster", said Ghosh.

Noting that print was the one medium where people spend time, Ghosh said he expects publications to partner with agencies to make the core idea bigger. When it came to innovation, Ghosh outlined that it would be done only if necessary: "We don't do innovation for the sake of it. We want to create events."

Confessing his love for print magazines, Sonal Dabral, chairman and chief creative officer, DDB Mudra Group, spoke about his stint in Singapore where he worked on two magazine brands - The Economist and FHM. Showcasing some of the work done on the two brands, he said, "For The Economist, we created sharp puzzles. FHM was a fun magazine that gave us the opportunity to do whatever."

Back in India, Dabral explained the re-launch of Femina by DDB Mudra: "We gave it a refreshed look talking to a girl in the mid 20s. Prior to this, it was more of a ‘moms’ brand. The entire content was refreshed."

Moderator Anant Rangaswami, senior editor,, and editor, Storyboard, asked speakers for one change they would like to see in magazine advertising.

Ghosh said he would look for integrated editorial campaigns, while Kothe urged ideation. "Bring great ideas and we'll make sure we get the execution," said Kothe.

Dabral responded: "Enough effort goes into the positioning of a magazine. The same effort should go in the content, to make the positioning stay true. If the content is good, ads will go seamlessly (with it)."

Manish Tewari: "Willing to walk the extra mile for magazines"

Manish Tewari, currently serving as Union Minister of State Independent charge, Minister of Information and Broadcasting did not show up for the keenly awaited address to the delegates. But he sent a video message. In this message, he spoke of the primacy of the printed word; and stated he was optimistic about printed magazines in India. He stressed the potential for regional language publications.

He said, to the members of the Association of India Magazines that his ministry, is "willing to walk the extra mile" for the benefit of the Indian magazine.

The second presentation in the morning was by Nicholas Brett, the managing director of BBC who traced the journey of GoodFood in UK and in India. He started off by stating, "Magazines are damn sexy and I love magazines."

He highlighted the journey of the seven editions; simply because "food will travel."

The Indian edition of GoodFood was launched in November 2011; and he felt the Indian edition was "the best"; since it catered to the Indian reader plus highlighted a blend of Indian and international food.

Today, India spends 31% of their income on food. This market is worth $2 bn and growing 25% annually. Of this, the gourmet food is estimated at $1 bn; and it this opportunity the GoodFood team had seized.

When PrintWeek India had met up with Worldwide Media's chief executive officer, Tarun Rai in September 2011 to talk about the new magazine and the explosion in good food, he had said, "The Indian market seems ripe for a magazine like GoodFood. The reason for that is in the last five-seven years, there has been so much interest and activity around the food space that it's unbelievable - whether it's the kind of ingredients that are now available, from vegetables to restaurants serving new cuisines. There is a lot of experimentation in the area."

On what is unique about GoodFood, Rai said, "The differentiator that we bring in is that we are the experts. There is no single source right now of all things food. When you have expertise, you do things the right way. We're doing unique things with the GoodFood magazine, including having our own kitchen and making sure that whatever we put in the magazine is tested first (not just once, but three times)."

Today, Brett stated, GoodFood India is an established brand and rated as "an all in one food magazine"; and akin to a cookery school which inspires a reader to make the dishes. In addition, the magazine has launched a slew of digital activation as well as 25 live events.

Brett concluded his presentation with the 5Cs of magazine publishing: cannibalisation (a word which should be banned in his lexicon), commoditisation, commercialisation, co-ordination and change (since he felt we are moving far too slowly).

GoodFood India is published by WorldWide Media and printed by Rajhans Enterprises in Bengaluru who also print the other titles for the WWM group.

Mihir Joshi, besides being a PrintWeek India scribe, is a central defender and supporter of AC Milan. In his weekly column he immortalises the power of print with the same passion with which he gets excited about the world's greatest game.