Closing the first day of the Indian Magazine Congress with his keynote, Sam Balsara, chairman and MD, Madison World, urged magazine publishers to shift focus from exposure to engagement. Sharing an optimistic outlook on the magazine industry, he quoted from research that estimated magazines to have grown by five per cent in 2013.
Highlighting that magazines were de-growing by 1.3 per cent CAGR in the largest magazine market, the US, Balsara noted, "In lot of emerging economies, magazines are expected to do well. Rising incomes and aspirations are positive growth drivers for magazines."
Balsara outlined five insights that reinforce magazines as a ‘great’ media. He said: magazines are number one in reader engagement; magazine advertisements are least annoying; it captures undivided attention; ads in magazines are noticed and considered influential; and magazines talk to superior influencers. Presenting the case for them to feature in ‘mega media plans’, Balsara opined, "Magazines can deliver on media numbers for high reach plans." He quoted from Madison's M:Spectra study, according to which, magazines could feature as cost efficient media choices ‘once diminishing return sets in TV’.
Quoting a proprietary Madison study that was done to understand the role and influence of different media in various categories such as FMCG, Balsara pointed out that magazines play a key role in amplifying the message: 'Suitable for my needs and in helping me make final decision'. While stating that magazines do not do a good job in initial phase of purchase funnel, he noted that cooking oils could do without advertising on television, but not in health or women's magazines. Similarly, if shampoo brands do not consider magazines, they would be opting for a sub-optimal strategy, he reasoned.
Balsara further underlined magazines creating long-sustaining properties such as the 'Time Person of the Year'. He was driving the point that by co-creating iconic properties, marketers can build stature for brands.
"I do feel magazines occupy a small and strong niche. It is important that it finds its niche, which is engagement and not exposure," Balsara concluded.