Arati Rao
May 11, 2011

Robb Report launches in India

Campaign India caught up with Malcolm D Mistry, publishing director, The India Today Group, to ask him more about the luxury magazine's strategy in India

Robb Report launches in India

The India Today Group has partnered with U.S based CurtCo Media, the publishers of Robb Report across U.S, China, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Spain, and Middle East, to bring the Indian edition of the international luxury and lifestyle magazine Robb Report.

The publication targets readers who are seen to be India’s most affluent and sophisticated, with a focus on luxury goods and services offered both internationally and in India. With the premier edition introduced in May 2011, Robb Report India, a monthly magazine, will be available on an invitation-only basis to a list of 35,000 readers. Govind Dhar has been appointed as the executive editor of Robb Report India.

“India is fast becoming a hub of luxury, with its growing clan of über-rich billionaires and booming businesses. For connoisseurs seeking the very best that life has to offer, Robb Report remains the essential luxury resource. We are therefore, pleased to add Robb Report to our stable of market-leading brands, and to growing our relationship with the wealthiest homes in India,” said India Today Group chairman and editor-in-chief, Aroon Purie. 

Campaign India asked Malcolm D. Mistry, publishing director, The India Today Group, a few questions about the new luxury magazine:
CI: What made this a good time for the launch of the magazine (it's been planned for a couple of years)?

MM: The last two years of downturn have been tough on the economy. The economy has recovered now and is looking good. Today in India, we have about 55 billionaires and 1,27,000 dollar millionaires – that’s a very large consuming class. We’ve also seen a shift in their consumption patterns – they’re consuming luxury brands, holidays and experiences in substantial amounts. In fact, most of the studies that are undertaken are pointing out that the growth that will happen in the luxury industry will largely be fuelled by India and China. So luxury brands are looking at India very seriously and a luxury magazine that includes and informs that lifestyle can only be timely.

Robb Report is the Bible of luxury. People in India are now consuming content on yachts, jets and the like, even if it is in small numbers – but it has to start somewhere. Till now the market has included information on this segment that skims the surface; Robb Report goes beyond that, talking to the people who craft and create these products, and details everything from the history of each brand to its evolution and modern representation. Over 35 years, you make a lot of good relationships and we aim to bring that richness to the Indian luxury reader.  Robb Report, which is available in USA, China, Turkey, Brazil, Russia, Middle East and Spain, allows us to bring the best from around the world to the reader in India. So the timing is perfect – I don’t think we’re too late or too early. And even the numbers we’re looking at is 30,000 on an average in the initial months and then we’ll take it from there.

CI: What will be the split between international and Indian content?

MM: To answer that, we have to first understand who is The Robb Reader. The Robb Reader is somebody we’d like to call “affluential” – i.e he/she is affluent and influential.  Not only does he have the money, but he knows how to spend his money. We’ve hand-picked about 30,000 who’s who list of consumers across India. It’s been a mammoth task putting together this list – it’s been discussed, debated, torn apart, started again, and the same thing again, multiple times. Today, if you’re on The Robb List, it would mean you live a certain lifestyle, and your consumption pattern would be pretty similar to the consumption pattern of a high net worth individual in any other part of the world. So the content would be created for a citizen of the world. It would be selected from the other editions, and we would also be generating our own content. Is there a ratio? No, we won’t be driven by numbers.

CI: What is the strategy to market the magazine?

MM: The magazine doesn’t have a cover price; this means we will not be selling the magazine conventionally. If you are on The Robb Report List, chances are that you are aware of it, and hold it in high esteem. If you aren’t aware of the Robb Report, in all probability, you shouldn’t be getting the Robb Report.

So we don’t need to have a high pitch advertising campaign, in conventional terms. In fact, I think everything about Robb Report will be subtle and low key. Initially, you would have a bit of advertising, but that’s just to tell the connoisseur that Robb Report India is now available – extremely subtle, extremely limited and never in your face.

CI: How will you make the magazine attractive to advertisers?

MM: What makes Robb Report attractive is the list of readers, and the treatment of the news. By using an international resource network for the very best researched and reported content on this space, we demand a high profile audience not just from our readers, but our advertisers too. With these two things, we get a very unique reader and these readers are very elusive. What Robb Report does is that it puts them together to create a community that consumes luxury. Robb Report is not meant for mass brands – the brands that advertise in it are the ultimate in the aspirational or established segment. We have gone out and advised certain brands to not advertise with us. For people who understand the hierarchy of luxury, they will understand our level of cut-off and that level is extremely high. So, if you’re in the luxury market, if you’re selling yachts, jets, private club memberships or bespoke holiday experiences, Robb Report becomes that one vehicle which allows you to reach the right audience and be bang on target every time. 

Campaign India