With more focus on targeting the individual, is there a greater role for magazines as they cater to the niche rather than the mass? A panel discussed the subject and more on the second and final day of the Indian Magazine Congress 2014 in New Delhi.
Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands India, acknowledged that the industry was facing issues that could create turmoil if not tackled at the earliest.
On the relevance of the medium, he said, "If you look at one customer, and try to catch him at (multiple) touch points, magazines play an important role. It adds to reach and also (helps) surround the consumer." He added, "Until now, engagement was an abandoned word but it is now coming to fore with digitisation playing its part."
Noting that media buying had become more volume-driven and low margin, he made a plea to publishers decide on a measurement metric.
Anupriya Acharya, group CEO, ZenithOptimedia Group India, noted that with explosion of media platforms, magazines were still relevant in media plans and are still an influential media. She pointed out that the global digital onslaught would find its way into India, underlining that it was something publishers needed to embrace.
Anita Nayyar, CEO India and South Asia, Havas Media, voiced the view that consumers were moving to ‘content-centric’ but were getting ‘platform-agnostic’. "If a kid is watching Chhota Bheem, it can be on TV, cinema. comics, newspaper. They are consuming the content, and not the platform. However, none of the media can beat engagement that magazines offer. In spite of low reach, time spent on magazines is second only to TV. If they are suffering, there is definitely something wrong with how magazines are sold today," she reasoned.
Nayyar further added that with fragmentation of audiences, niche plays were critical. She surmised that magazine publishers should look at innovative packaging to offer engaging solutions. She proposed that magazine publishers should integrate the power of both mediums (print and digital) and explore various revenue models.