Santosh Desai, MD and CEO of FuturebrandsIndia spoke on ‘Emerging consumer trends and implications for magazines’ on the first day of the 9th Indian Magazine Congress held in Chennai.
Beginning with the challenges for print media, Desai highlighted that there is a fundamental shift in behaviour of the readers, and to tackle the issue magazine publishers will have to develop the new category of consumptions. He stressed on the need of educating on how to consume the new category which is mainly taught by magazines.
Magazines are also the manufacturer of celebrities and hence, they should continue producing more celebs in many sectors, be it food, travel or any other sector. Desai also pointed out that magazine should continue helping readers imagine a better self/life and build communities around several interests.
Talking about behavioural shift due to growing influence of digital, Desai pointed out that it is wrong to say the young generation is not reading text. “To my mind, it is still largely text. The form and the way of consumption of text may have changed, but text is still consumed at large. Consumers today want to be many things and there is a big gap between understanding their need. I would ask on consumers’ behalf that why should they read what you have? You are not saying anything worthwhile. Digital has rather enabled publishers to quickly identify the readers’ choice and to listen to the consumers’ voice,” added Desai.
He noted that the biggest problem with the magazines was distribution. “Look at the newspapers that have fabulous distribution model and this explains why they are doing well even now. Today, magazines cost less than a cup of coffee, yet still they are not picked up at several touch points such as airports. There seems to be an opportunity to innovate and imagine a new way of reaching out to consumers and there is a need for more concerted efforts to ensure better distribution model,” Desai noted.
At the end of his session, citing the reason that money chases people who create stuff rather than people who sell it, Desai called for more investment into content.