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From content to engagement


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Two leading publishers talk to Rahul Dubey about the Indian magazine sector and challenges before it

President & Publisher, Chitralekha group; VP, AIM

Q] The latest AIM report claims that magazines are more engaging than other media. How can magazines achieve better engagement with readers?

The survey conclusively proves that magazines as a medium have high engagement scores as well as the ads carried in them. Ads in magazines are trustworthy, considered as desirable as the content and hardly avoided. In short, advertisers get a true bang for their buck as ads get noticed and believed in, unlike some other media where they are skipped a lot more.

Q] As per recent Indian Readership Survey data, magazine readership has seen a slow decline in the last few quarters. Is it a cause for concern?

Yes and no. Obviously, any kind of decline needs to be worked on and resisted. No, because IRS does not capture the changing dynamics of the magazine industry. Many special interest magazines have been launched in the last few years, which are individually too small to be reported but collectively add a lot of new engaged readers. The heterogeneity in magazine distribution is not captured by IRS.

Q] How can the magazine industry attract more advertisers?

A lot of work is happening in the West using econometric modelling to prove efficacy of advertising in magazines alongside television. Most of them have shown amazing results. We at AIM have to provide more empirical data from the Indian market to convince FMCG advertisers to increase their spends in magazines.

Q] What is the most important need of the magazine industry today?

We lost the plot a little bit between 2008 and 2011. Publishers across the world were slightly confused with their strategies to handle the digital space. But now most have embraced digital wholeheartedly. AIM is committed to cutting edge research for both print and digital versions to convince advertisers to up their spends in magazines.

Publisher, Elle India

Q] The latest AIM report suggests that magazines are increasingly producing highly engaging content. How can consumers be engaged with magazines further?

The Indian consumer is evolving. Focused editorial content engages readers, for whom reading a magazine is a pleasure and an expression of their identity, at a time when their thinking is stimulated and they are at their receptive best. Readers feel connected to a particular magazine because it reflects who they are and the life they aspire for. Specific interest magazines strive to provide the most value to the targeted reader.

Q] As per recent IRS data, magazine readership has seen a slow decline in the last few quarters. What are the reasons for this decline?

Legacy publishing in more developed markets has actually experienced more readership as they have successfully adapted to the ever-changing reader and used new media to grow traditional businesses. Digital media is now transforming print into a broadcast medium – 10 years ago, the New York Times boasted of two million global readers. Now they can claim 60 million readers across multiple touchpoints.

Q] What can attract more advertisers to magazines, especially those marketers who still do not advertise in magazines?

Advertisers want audiences, not spaces. Specific genre magazines have a loyal fan following - their trust and faith is unyielding. A fashion follower will always look to a fashion magazine for trends, and take it as the best authority to provide suggestions. This reader is not easily accessible and extremely independent and intelligent. So if an advertiser needs to reach this consumer, it is best for them to have their communication in a specific content magazine.

Feedback: rahul.dubey@exchange4media.com

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