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Monday, October 14, 2013

Times What’s Up?!: It’s cool…!

Do you remember one of my older reviews about ‘Which? Right Choice’ magazine? It was quite an unusual kind of magazine to help consumers to make buying decision by providing them purely editorial perspective and unbiased verdicts on variety of consumer products and services. The USP of WRC is that they don’t accept any single advertisement or advertorial or sponsored feature (not even for the covers) to put in the magazine to ensure its positioning in readers mind that this magazine is absolutely editorial driven, not the advertisements.

Now ‘Times What’s Up?!’ is recently launched magazine by Times Of India group which is also in the same genre but interestingly it is just opposite to WRC in terms of content. TWU is merely a compilation of advertorials and promotional features except of very editorial articles. A very unique proposition and solves fairly its purpose to help consumers to in buying.

It is also mentioned in the TWU’s tag line that it focuses on consumer durables, IT and ITES segment. It contains all the advertorials and promotional features in the form of editorial pages. For a (consumer) reader, it serves its good purpose as it helps him to know about the product, the technology, the concept, the usage, the application of any featured product.

But the catch in this kind of content is that readers cannot absolutely rely on such information to make a firm decision to buy a product because most of the articles have no specialist or editorial credibility, they are just advertorial pieces from the companies’ mouth.

Content of magazine is well structured in various sections and articles are written in very short and crisp manner. The cover story only goes up to 4 pages; else every story is wrapped up in one or two pages maximum. Despite that, articles are structured and have several extra info boxes and hooks that make the magazine a content-thick and interesting read.

After a long time I have gone through a magazine which has a good design in terms of creativity and discipline. As it was necessary for this kind of genre, it has got lots of design elements in the magazine. Every page has some fix and variable elements but everything seems placed thoughtfully and in the discipline. Hence, entire magazine when you flip through cover to cover, it looks beautiful and create interest to read it.

Cover, I feel, is little cluttered and not impressive for this genre of magazines which can be tweaked further. Also, for some reason, the launch issue was carrying ‘What’s Up’ as its masthead but second issue has ‘Times What’s Up?!’.

Inside pages are designed pretty well as they have consistency in using elements yet creative. Except a few places where things are placed or treated inconsistently, otherwise all the pages look good.

As most of the content is promotional features and are sponsored material, it could be justified only if they were printed well. In order to achieve this it is taken care brilliantly and printing is come up very impressive. Images are perfectly sharp, clear and skin colors are just perfect. It has got detailing in almost every photograph so all I can say that pre-press and press has done their job well.

Again, since it has lots of sponsored material, to make it look better, it has got good quality of thick paper for inside pages and even thicker page for the cover which is then laminated to give it a richer look. Monthly issue of 52 pages is priced at Rs50 which if you look at its product quality and the reasonably good content, it seems pretty fine. Even it has made of higher GSM paper, but it has 48 pages only plus 4 pages of cover, that is not sufficient enough to make it as a perfect bound magazine with a spine, hence it is centre-pinned product which does not feel bad in slightly tall in size. Because of condense presentation, it looks quite content heavy but it should have more pages to accommodate more articles to feed a reader as a monthly periodical.

As I mentioned, it is a special and probably the first of its kind of magazine. But, I liked because it is put together well.

You might feel that my review of TWU is also paid or sponsored but trust me, I have never taken a single penny for my reviews in last seven years and I promise that my ‘VIRDI’ct will never be sold for any amount. That is why I can write my unbiased feedback on the publication which is helpful for the publishers to improve their magazines.

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