It’s been a year since Architectural Digest was launched. How has been the response from readers?
It’s been really good. Overall, from every angle, it has met and beaten all expectations - in terms of circulation and print run numbers. The market is quite cluttered and there are quite a few magazines in the space, but I think the good news for AD is that after a year, it has clearly managed to establish itself as a leader, both in the minds of the reader as well as the experts in the space like designers, architects and the design community. Today we print 20,000 copies and with that number we’re clearly a leader in the space.
How would you define the profile of your reader?
This would be based on actual research. We recently concluded a consumer study which helped us profile our readers. Our reader is an affluent, design-inclined person with an international orientation.
Is it skewed towards men?
No. Actually it’s 50-50 men and women. In terms of affluent readers and the fact that they’re quite evolved, it’s evident from the fact that more than 50 per cent of our readers own a vacation home or a second home. Majority of them are exclusive members of private clubs, so I think the data shows that AD readers are extremely affluent. They also tend to be well travelled. A large portion are also people who are in the design space, whether it is architects, designers, owners of design stores and the like.
How big is the market for AD in India?
Well, clearly there is an audience for special interest magazines in India. If magazine publishers are willing to use the high quality content that is on par with global standards that people expect, then definitely there is a larger audience for it.
Magazines like Vogue and GQ have seen an increase in their circulation and readership numbers by 10 to 12 per cent and that is a trend which is seen every year. While the market size for a magazine like AD is difficult to estimate, there is definitely an interest and an inclination among the affluent audience. Across all our titles, advertising revenues are better than industry standards. Talking of AD, we have 70 per cent of the advertising revenue that is generated in the space.
What would be the split between advertising revenue and circulation revenue for AD?
Exact splits are difficult to share, but clearly it’s the advertising revenue that takes the majority share of the overall revenue.
Will we see an increase in circulation revenue going forward?
There is going to be some increase in circulation revenue. Again, it depends on the price points that magazines manage to establish and how you grow those price points. So when we entered the market about five years ago with Vogue, Rs 100 as a price point for a magazine was not really established. Quite frankly, it didn’t even exist in the market.
How is the magazine (AD) priced currently and are you looking at increasing the cover price?
The magazine is priced at Rs 150 today, and we’d like to stick to that for a few years.
In terms of content, how is AD different from other magazines in the space?
AD has a very distinct positioning. Our promise with AD is to showcase the most beautiful homes in the world. That is the core of the magazine and that doesn’t change. For our anniversary issue, we picked three designers and asked them to showcase their homes. So there is Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi and Suneet Varma on the cover and inside the magazine, you see the homes of these designers – very distinct and different homes.
The other thing is leading the thinking on design within the interiors space and that’s the second promise we deliver on.
What is the road map for the magazine for the next two to three years? How will it evolve beyond content, with properties and the like?
We need to continue to deliver high quality content. What we have delivered till now has worked. Editorially, that focus continues.
From a marketing perspective, the good news for AD is that within a year’s time we’ve managed to create interesting properties and that’s something we want to continue to build on. AD Magical Spaces is a property where we request celebrities from interior design space to recreate a public space. Last year, with Suzanne Roshan, we did a living home in middle of Palladium. So that is one initiative. We’re discussing how to take it out from Mumbai to wider audiences.
Similarly, we created a property called AD Salon, a small event where influential readers of the magazine visit homes that we’ve actually covered in the magazine. We’ve also done something called AD Studio where we conduct workshops around our content. We have many more of such properties and are planning to launch a few more this year. Going forward, our focus will be to take these properties to a wider audience.