At a time when Print houses are busy right-sizing their operations, India Today Group revamps the flagship India Today magazine with fresh talent and a new format aimed to clear the clutter and provide insights, knowledge and perspectives of contemporary issues for the ‘Thinking India’
In an era where disruption is the new normal and normal is low key - an era where there are over 350 news channels and innumerable news websites operating 24x7 - for a Print magazine to survive and stay relevant is difficult. On a macro level, English publications have been struggling post demonetization, with most media organizations re-structuring their operations and pruning staff on the back of it.
Therefore, revamping its flagship magazine India Today and investing in the Print brand at this juncture is a bold move by the India Today Group, which had relaunched its English news channel Headlines Today as ‘India Today Television’ in 2015.
The channel has been seeing healthy growth in advertising revenues since then. Looking ahead, Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, says, “I would not rule out a Print product from Aaj Tak too, as the regional press continues to thrive.”
Dipali Banka talks to Aroon Purie, Ashish Bagga, Group CEO and Raj Chengappa, Group Editorial Director (Publishing) of the India Today Group about the hows and whys of the magazine revamp process.
‘WE WANT TO CATER TO THE THINKING INDIAN’
In this exclusive note for IMPACT, Aroon Purie, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, says the new India Today will de-clutter the overload of information in today’s news space, authenticate facts, provide clarity and unique content to the reader
“India Today has been re-imagined to be in tune with the changing news environment. When India Today was launched 40 years ago, there were no 24-hour news channels and the newspapers were dull as dishwater. Today, there are over 350 news channels and newspapers are colourful with many pages. And, of course, there are innumerable news websites operating 24x7. We are flooded with information... much more than we need. The nature of the medium has dictated that 24x7 TV news has become the FIR of news, subsuming the role of a newspaper. Newspapers, by and large, have ended up repeating the news either seen on TV or already read on websites or apps. This, to my mind, leaves a very useful space for a news magazine.
“Earlier, India Today presented a comprehensive digest of news which was well-written, full of colourful details accompanied by unique photographs. The new India Today assumes the reader already knows the news and, in fact, so much of it that he does not know what is important and what is not. He is often quite confused with the bits and pieces of information he has consumed on an hourly or daily basis. Moreover, India is undergoing dramatic, rapid and often bewildering political, economic, social and cultural change that demands analysis and interpretation to fathom.
Here then is the space for the magazine to de-clutter the news and provide the clarity and understanding of events which affect every facet of a reader’s life. A weekly magazine has the time to give the news a perspective, a context and authenticate the facts. In addition, the magazine will provide unique content not available anywhere else. The format of a magazine allows the reader to consume it at leisure, as it has a shelf-life unlike a newspaper. We want to cater to the Thinking Indian. More than demographic numbers, we strive to read the right psychographic audience that will value our offering the most.
“What has not changed is the core value of India Today, which is journalism without fear or favour. In a time when we are living in a post-truth society, where anyone can be an author or publisher, it is important to have a source of news which is credible, independent and not driven by any agendas.”