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Thursday, April 26, 2007

HELLO! India

Hi Friends,

I have told you in my previous mails that April month has brought lots of inaugural & special issues of different magazines. "HELLO!" is one new entrant in Indian market after "OK!" which is a celebrity news magazine and is launched by Worldwide Media Pvt. Ltd.

To maintain the trend of staying pioneer in putting exclusive pictures and/or stories in the magazine, inaugural issue of HELLO! is carrying worldwide exclusive pictures of marriage of Liz Hurley & Arun Nayar (you must be aware of other story about selling exclusive copy rights to publish these pictures to this magazine in a just few million dollars only :). And it worked well for the magazine sale. (Last week on some TV news channel, the editor of Indian edition, Ruchika Mehta, revealed that next issue of HELLO! will be carrying some exclusive pictures of Aish-Abhi… no…not their marriage's but when they were getting closer on the set of 'Umraao Jaan').

This was the same magazine that had published worldwide exclusive pictures of Brad, Jolie with their new baby- Shiloh. A few months back.

Other than Liz-Arun wedding story, the same inaugural issue is also peeping into Poonawallas' (India's premier racing family) weekend, Saif-Rosa and Hugh-Jemima part ways stories.

Original HOLA! (HELLO!), the SA edition, is the weekly edition while in India it is launched as 124 page monthly magazine at cover price of Rs. 50.

Well, people who love to read about celebs, want to look their pictures when they are on holidays or dating or breaking or partying… they would definitely love this magazine because of one, exclusive reporting and second, big sized glossy paper of the magazine. I personally feel that reporting and pictures may be exclusive in HELLO! but the presentation, layout and designing could be far better than it is.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

All Sports: Everything is fair... in Love, War & SPORTS!

Hi Friends,

India might have lost the Cricket World Cup, but the ventures which are started keeping world cup in the mind, haven’t lost their hopes and trying to do better… whether it is TV channel Neo Sports or it is newly launched monthly magazine- ALLSPORTS.

Yes, the name suggests 'All' sports but its like the reality in our country that Cricket overshadows everything else in the sports. For ALLSPORTS it may also true because when it is launched, the biggest event on the earth happening is the Cricket World Cup and that's why the inaugural issue is carrying the cover story on World Cup 2007. Poor editorial team was not aware that by the time this magazine will be released, India would have lost the match and people would have lost their interest from Cricket. Its wrong, if people believe that Cricket is religion in India. I think people in India don't bother about the Cricket game, they are concerned if and only if India is playing. This world cup scenario is the witness that the moment India came out the tournament; people stopped watching or even discussing the match. Today almost nobody is following what is happening in the match, they are quite happy in just knowing the result of the match instead of following every single ball.

So, idea of putting the image of World Cup on the cover of the inaugural issue is just gone into the drain. And as it is, the design of cover is poor and so unprofessional that it just can’t attract a reader on news stand. There are lods of unnecessary design elements on the cover which are making the cover congested.

Still in the first issue of Allsports, you can find F1, Football, Golf also. But the content is more like facts & figures which don't impress me much. I would rather like to read more features or in-depth analysises or expert opinions instead of reading referential score cards only.

Though, we don’t have any good sports magazine in India, there is definitely scope for one, but with this kind of content I don’t think Allsports can satisfy that need. 112 page monthly magazine is priced at Rs.50 and launched by SE publishing Pvt. Ltd and Edited by Mario Rodrigues. Magazine is backed by the Essel Group which is well known as an ambassador for sports, having vested interests in both Zee Sports and Ten Sports, giving the group the title of the World’s No 1 sports channels for South Asians - in addition to its involvement in Indian Football and the development of youth in sports.



Bride & Style: Something about marry!

Hi Friends,

BRIDE AND STYLE is another magazine in the same segment i.e. Marriage which is coincidently launch in the same month by ITE India Pvt. Ltd. Another coincident (apart from that both magazines are Delhi based) is that its also edited by a lady editor- Geetika Sharma who started her welcome edit note with- Cicero called marriage the first bond of society- and has crafted a beautiful & crisp piece of her editorial.

Cover of the Inaugural issue is quite ok but could be improved if a few things would have kept in mind. Inside pages are well-designed. Content pages could be more informative as they fail to communicate the editorial structure of the magazine. Still, I find it’s a decent bouquet of editorial features along with lots of regular columns. Another thing I liked is that they have conceived articles from various different genre but they have beautifully crafted them around the theme of the magazine- 'marriages' only whether its about style, or about make-up or about skin care or about places or about entertainment or health or about shopping… everything is either bride focused or marriage centric.

Bride & Style is also printed in broad size and has used a good quality of paper which gives you a feel of rich content. 154 page magazine is (im)perfect bound as its each and every page has already come out from binding in one reading only. This quarterly magazine is priced at Rs.100 which I think, looking at its content, is fine.



Man & Wife: Bond...Strongest Bond!

Hi Friends,

April month has brought a tidal wave of inaugural issues of lods of Desi & Phirang magazines like ALLSPORTS, BRIDE AND STYLE, MAN & WIFE, HELLO, PARENTS TODAY, BETTER HOMES & GARDENS! I am sure; there must be lots of others also which I may have missed because of my very limited access to the market.

Let me start with- MAN & WIFE (yes, you read it right...its not Man & Wine.), a bi-monthly magazine on Relationships, or 'your guide to successful matrimony' as its editor, Mitu Bisht defines the magazine. Man & Wife is launched by BIB publications and this 64 page – perfect bound magazine is priced at Rs.60.

Inaugural issue is carrying four stories on the cover and three out of them are carrying the word 'Marriage' in it, which shows how marriage centric this magazine is! Cover image is good but they could have design it better and could have utilize cover space smartly. The only thing is perfect is its Mast-head which is quite strong & prominent.

Well at a glance, Man & Wife is printed in a big size and on good quality of paper but its design is poor. Designer has overlooked a lots of basic design rules and needed to rework to improve the layout and the presentation of the content. There is no consistency even in any two articles. Content is also not so impressive as it looks like a compilation of articles printed in news papers' Sunday supplements. As Mitu wrote in her edit note- the way to go… I believe they will improve their content & design to make it successful as they are trying our marriages successful.



Monday, April 16, 2007

Prevention: Its better than cure!

Hi Friends,

You might be aware that the last November, India Today Group has launched 'men’s health' for men. In less than a six months time, same group has launched a health magazine for women- PREVENTION. Unlike ‘Men’s Health’, which is more a lifestyle product, ‘Prevention’ is totally focused on health and fitness.

Prevention is 56 years old US based health magazine which is most trusted and well accepted in Greece, Poland, Mexico, Ukraine and Chile. From easy-to-implement "quick tips" to award-winning, cutting edge reporting, Prevention is uniquely positioned to tell readers: Here's what you really need to know, and here's what to do about it.

America's leading healthy lifestyle magazine is based on a simple and powerful promise: Make little changes, get big results. Prevention speaks to readers in a reassuring familiar voice about family health, food, nutrition, workouts, beauty, cooking, and more.

150-page magazine is priced at Rs. 50 in the size of Readers Digest and I think it’s perfect balance of price and information. Inaugural issue is carrying lods of useful articles including cover story- 'Save your Heart Now-A complete plan'. Other interesting articles are- 'Flatten your belly in 9 easy moves', 'Get new body- Step by Step', '6 powerfoods every woman needs' and 'Turn the clock back- 35 going on 25' which are definitely going to appeal their target audience.

Same issue is also carrying 16-page tiny booklet- Know your fruits- easy tips to calorie count. You must have remember that inaugural issue of 'men’s health' was carrying a merchandised pouch of KS, this issue of Prevention is also carrying sample capsules of Vitamin & Minerals- Revital from Ranbaxy.

Apart from the interesting and useful features and dense content, I am more impressed with the advisory panel having more than a dozen experts on it.

Prevention is started with a print run of 50,000 copies and I think it can leave an impact on its TG.


G. S. Virdi

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hindi & Tamil: Digit in local languages

Hi Friends,

Most pathetic brand extension I have seen in my life is of 'digit' if they call it brand extension.

Around five old and a very successful brand 'digit' has launched its local language products as its brand extension- 'digit fast track' in Hindi and Tamil language in last week. Both the 'book-cum-magazines' are available on news stands at Rs.50 and Rs. 40 respectively. Both the editions are carrying one CD also.

After going through 'digit fast track Hindi' edition, I would like to say that its just a horrible product. In comparison of their mother brand- digit, these editions are simply going to disappoint their readers. Readers will also feel cheated when they will not find the product and content quality which they may expect from the 'digit' brand.

Both the covers are poorly conceptualized and designed. I can't find any logic nor any connection of putting the models (obviously they are taken from their old stock) with the title- Microsoft Office. Cover design is equally bad and seems like an outcome of thoughtless execution.

Most disappointing is the paper quality of the 112 pages' magazine which is not better than even a local news paper's paper quality. Whole magazine is poorly printed in mono black color and screen shots are horribly faded that no one can see what is shown there. And readers will be feeling cheated as they don’t expect such a bad product from the brand digit.

Oh content??? Don’t even ask about that! Translation is ridiculous and not user friendly and there are uncountable typo errors on each and every single page. CD completely is in English except one word- 'fast track' is written in Hindi on its face!

What all I can say is its simply an insult of non-English speaking reader by providing such degraded product to them. Providing this kind of product for Hindi speaking audience shows that publishers of 'digit fast track Hindi' underestimate this audience. They think that this audience can accept even this kind of pathetic product. That too at such a decent cover price! In fact, there are lots of other Hindi magazines in the market which are printed in four colors on good quality of paper and having good quality of images and that too at even half of the price.

Anyways, 'digit fast track Hindi' is the topical book/magazine which doesn’t have any fixed periodicity as it is not the regional version of 'digit' regular magazine. Publishers of 'digit' might have some thought behind this product, but I can't think that it is going to add any value to their brand.



Thursday, April 05, 2007

Time Out please...

Hi Friends,

You might be aware that 39 years ago 'Time Out' was started in London and after its journey of almost four decade, today it has more than 56 versions world wide. Just two and half years ago it was launched in India by Paprika Media for the Mumbai city and it just changed the rules of the game for the city magazines in India.

Well, Time Out Mumbai is an entertainment and lifestyle magazine that showcases reviews and previews of Mumbai’s art, books, children, dance, health and spirituality, film, television, radio, music, nightlife, sports, restaurants & eating out and shopping services. It comprehensively guides readers through the fascinating range of entertainment and cultural opportunities that exist in Mumbai. Time Out Mumbai features witty, intelligent reviews and previews and comprehensive, accurate listings.

After witnessing the success of Time Out Mumbai, other major publication houses also awaken and that’s why, I think, India Today started 'Simply Mumbai' and Outlook launched the 'Mumbai City Limits' but both the magazines are still being freely distributed with their mother brands.

This week, Paprika media has launched 'Time Out Delhi' for Delhiets to showcase Delhi in a new perspective. Delhi edition will be edited by Editor Avtaar Singh. Following the trend its again a fortnightly magazine and priced at Rs.30 only.

I hope that this edition is set to repeat its success and going to be appreciated by Delhi people.