Indian Niche magazines to live long | News

Bhavana Puljal – | Mumbai
Aided by a liberal policy on foreign investment in the business, specialist periodicals are mushrooming on subjects not so long ago left out of deep coverage: Biking and art, golf and cell phones, beauty or small businesses like franchises.
Next Gen Publishing, formed by Forbes Gokak group, HDFC and Emap alone has seven niche titles in its portfolio that include Bike India, Car India, Ideal Home & Garden. It recently launched men’s magazine FHM. The company that started with an investment of Rs 1 lakh has grown to Rs 15 crore in authorized capital.
On the other hand, Infomedia, 49 per cent of which is owned by Reed Business Infomedia, has 21 niche titles in all out of which seven titles cater to the business to consumer segment. These cover areas like automobile industry, gadgets, photography, IT, interiors and even a magazine called Disney Adventure for Kids.
Independent publishers have come up with magazines on areas like cell phones and value-added services, which are fast growing areas with a hunger for information among interested consumers.
The magazines have been aided by the fact that 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) is now allowed in special interest magazines, compared with 26 per cent in news and general interest publications. Recent entrants in the market include Conde Naste’s fashion magazine Vogue, Dennis Publishing’s Maxim targeted at young men and Emap’s FHM.
On the other hand, Advertising in Indian magazines has also increased 15 per cent in January to September 2007 compared with that in the same period in 2006, according to a study by Adex India, a division of TAM Media Research. The growth was because of the proliferation of niche publications in the country. Advertising in newspapers grew by only 1 per cent during this period.
Women and current affairs magazines had the maximum advertising share, while advertising grew the fastest in the fashion and lifestyle segment between January and September 2007. Monthly magazines attracted most of the advertisements, with an ad ratio of 70:30 for English and regional magazines respectively.
Publications dedicated to women, business and current affairs enjoyed a combined share of 52 per cent of the total ad volume in magazines during the period under review compared with the numbers in the same period in 2004.
Media and advertising and city-centric magazines were the two other fastest-growing genres. Volume of advertisements in these categories grew 120 per cent and 110 per cent respectively during the period.
The study also showed that advertisers focused more on monthly magazines, which enjoyed 44 per cent of all advertising in magazines. This was followed by weekly magazines with a 31 per cent share and fortnightly publications making up 22 per cent of the ad volumes.

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