“In the age of radio and TV, traditional print survived and even thrived. But, the digital evolution has seen the emergence of different platforms drastically changing the content landscape,” observed Praveen Tripathi, chief executive, Magic9 Media and Consumer Knowledge.
Delivering his keynote speech on ‘Magazines – Staying meaningful in ever changing reader landscape, Tripathi said, “The chain of manufacturer to distributor to retailer to end consumer has changed. The consumer now relies on the search engine to get his content.”
Though the digital era is here to stay, the “magazines are fundamentally linked to the readers’ personal identity,” he said, while tracing back his own young days of grabbing and consuming the content of magazines and newspapers that remained the essential medium of sourcing information.
“Advertising in newspaper is like a handshake while the same in a magazine is similar to striking a conversation,” Tripathi said, adding that the digital medium alone could not help in building a brand.
Giving an editor’s perspective, N Ram, publisher, The Hindu and chairman, Kasturi & Sons, said, "Internet penetration being poor has helped print business to be in a situation it is in today.” The present scenario that the print media finds itself in is 'not a matter of pride' though there is a co-relation."
Despite the gloomy scenario, the future is not clearly visible in the absence of finding a business model that makes sense for going digital, he said, adding it is like throwing spaghetti on the wall, where some of it gets stuck.
Chris Llewellyn, CEO and president, FIPP, in his presentation, explained how the magazine media has evolved. He said, "While there is no single business model to arrest the downslide of magazine media, the changes that were happening by the month, meant that “you need to look at creating newer revenue streams.”
Allaying the fears caused by the digital disruption, he added, “Magazines are not dying. Print is not dying. The challenge is to go where the audiences are. Consumer is now the heart of the brand.”
Llewellyn gave the NatGeo on Snapchat example, wherein, the magazine had tweaked its content by making it fit to meet the customer needs – by videos, quizzes and shorter articles.
Observing that content is the trump card he said, “The linear modes of interaction have diminished which is why every piece of content becomes very important. Everything is intertwined. Digital disruption is happening everywhere.”
C K Ranganathan, CEO, Cavinkare, in his keynote on ‘Why we include magazines as an important part of our investment plans', said his company had revived its interest in using the magazine medium to expand its reach. By forging annual contracts it is not only able to experiment the sachet sales in a targeted manner but also able to build its umbrella portfolio of herbal brands. “Magazines are excellent media for sampling. It also is complementing the visual media,” he opined.
Apart from using the dailies as a tactical media, he said, magazines helped in brand building exercise. CavinKare will increase its magazine spend to about 8 per cent from its current 1 per cent.
Blippar CMO and founding director Jessica Butcher, in her address, said “Image itself can become a digital experience. Making the world interactive by simply looking it is possible.”
Demonstrating the efficacy of Blippar – a technological experience of augmented reality, she said such a digital medium enabled exact real-time data tracking.
Maheshwer Peri, chairman and publisher, Pathfinders Publishing presented a case study on monetising digital platforms, where he said “We understand the audience. Platform is just an enabler.” The start-up employing 120 plus people, took the digital plunge in 2012 building its business on “brand credibility which is because of content and not the platform,” he said.
In his address, Girish Ramdas, CEO and co-founder, Magzter, said the 'interactive nature of magazines' would help in driving business given their innovative format of content communication. Magzter has seen its user base breach the 2.5 crore or 25 million mark making 5200 plus magazines and 2000 plus publishers available to its readers.
ighlighting the importance of reaching out to the millennial audience, Ramdas said it is necessary to think like one. By this, he meant that even locations that the millennia frequented – libraries, airlines, cruises and cafes, had to be explored. "The digital readership and promotion are the keys to tap the digital market set to touch $18 billion by 2018,” he surmised.