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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

DANGER for Special Interest Magazines!!!

(was written on: July 19, 2006)

Hi Friends,

Really it is!

Whenever we think of our respective competition, we think of other magazines that cater directly to the same audience of ours. Like, when we think about the rivals of IC CHIP, we think of digit, PC Quest or PC World (recently launched) etc only. Whenever we start counting competitors of Overdrive, we count up to Autocar, Car, BS Motoring, TOP gear only. Similarly, Better Photography can see up to Smart Photography, Asian Photography, Times Journal only, Better Interior can count Inside Outside, Society, Elle Decor etc.

But if we asked twice to identify more, then we start including other mediums like Internet, TV, Radio etc as emerging competitors.

We often forget to recognize our biggest competitor in this exercise who is eating our market share very calmly, our readers as well as our revenues. And that is main stream print media- News Papers, who are serving the same kind of content in the form of weekly supplements or regular sections or special features to the same audience; to “our readers”, for those we claim (rather THINK!) that they are very loyal to us, they can’t leave us…!

We need to remember all the time that we are in the business of Special Interests, whether it is Technology, Automobile, Photography or anything. And we are holding “our reader” through this thin thread of his Special Interest. The same reader may have other interest also, like, one tech geek may have interest in Photography also, he may have interest in House keeping or in automobile or in cooking or in fashion or in gossips, or in travel etc..

I mean to say, this “our reader” has lots of avtaars within a single reader. And “our reader” may have tied up with so many thin threads with so many content sources. And everybody is claiming that this is “his reader”! Yes, I do agree that there is no harm if he is being pulled by another interests strings in other directions, until he consider our direct competitors (for the time being, I am considering the only content sources which I have mentioned in my first paragraph) as an alternate option.

And there we have a major threat! The main stream media can hook “our reader” in stronger way as he can get a kind of satisfaction for all of his avtaars in those news papers through various supplements on various interests.

This small and subtle danger is growing now. Its getting bigger with the newly launched various Life Style magazines. Believe me, all of them are carrying the same topics, which we think that this is our core domain, this is our strength, this is our domain of specialization…!

I would wonder if “our reader” can’t buy a dedicated magazine for each of his avtaar, why should not he move to such life style magazines, which are providing him content feed for his almost every content need? Yes, we can defend ourselves by a statement that we give them In-depth/well researched/authentic information! Still, we are very close to lose “our reader” if he gets the same taste from these kind of magazines, because in these magazine, he will be hooked by so many avtaars to so many threads.

I would like highlight a few data to advocate my feelings. In this year only, we have seen the launch of so many life style magazines like, Maxim, Marie Clarie, “m”, “OK” etc. And every magazine is catering about gadgets, automobile, photography, interior, AV, travel, fashion and what not. (You can refer one of last month’s IMPACT issues).

Approximately 250 pages fat, latest issue of ‘M” is released yesterday. I can’t see any reason if a CHIP/T3 reader, who loves to know about gadgets, doesn’t fall in love with “M” which is carrying 18 dedicated pages on it. Why would not a Photography enthusiast appreciate 10 pages showing classic work by veteran Photojournalist-Pradeep Chandra? This feature is carrying master pieces of his work along with the description of Camera and other specification. Other than that, this issue is featuring photographs in the form of 16 pages long retrospective on the Pirelli Calendar! Any auto enthusiast would definitely love to go though 9 pages of HOT WHEELS (regular section) which is featuring Harley this time. Same issue is carrying Honda Gold Wing also!

Similarly, this issue has lots of masala for AV Max readers also, apart from regular sections and other interesting stuff like ‘Sexiest Woman survey’, interviews with Prahlad Kakkar, Travel Bling etc.

Same issue has managed to bag 33 pages of Advertisements apart from so many sponsored/branded/advertorials/innovations.

As you keep surfing on this issue, you start feeling that this particular page/section would definitely appeal to “my reader”.

And this might be an alarming feeling!

Keep reading :-)