Foreign Glossy Magazines Prosper In Indian Market

17 January 2007

NEW DELHI: The burgeoning middle class of India, currently estimated at 300 million, continues its love affair with the western world's expensive consumables. The subcontinent's current flavor of the month is occidental glossy magazines, with titles such as Maxim, Marie Claire and Good Housekeeping already adorning the coffee tables of social aspirants.

Other titles including Vogue - even Playboy and Penthouse - are standing in line to jump the burnished bandwagon in the globe's fastest-growing democracy, although the raunchy content of the latter titles will be diluted to cater for the middle-class proprieties that presently rule in the land of the Karma Sutra.

Says PricewaterhouseCoopers' Smita Jha: "Compared to developed markets like the US and UK that are showing single-digit [revenue] growth in the entertainment and media sector, India has close to a 19% growth rate and a large, untapped market. Moving to emerging markets like India becomes a natural progression for publishers wanting to expand."

But India, like its western counterparts, is in a state of communications flux as the internet and digital media erode TV viewing and newspaper/magazine readership. Despite which, the nation's economy is growing at around 8% annually and can comfortably support an influx of western lifestyle magazines.

Certainly there is no shortage of advertising. In 2005 PwC estimates that overall marketing spend exceeded 130 billion rupees ($2.93bn; €2.27bn; £1.5bn) - an increase of 10.2% on the year prior.

According to Jha, magazine ads represented less than 20% of the 63 billion rupees spent on print advertising in India in 2005 and analysts expect the medium to grow at a double-digit annual rate for the next five years at least.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online. additional content by WARC staff