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Business – Sourav Ganguly to pen for Sports Illustrated

Radhika Sachdev

The first issue of Sports Illustrated from Dennis Media Transasia, a 50: 50 joint venture between Media Transasia, and UK’s Dennis Publishing, is due for October 5.

Encouraged by the response to Maxim and Blender, the other two monthly magazines that Media Transasia prints and distributes under a licensing arrangement with Dennis Publishing, Sports Illustrated will target the men’s general interest category at a time when there are “strong signs of revival in the Indian magazine market,” according to Richard Downey, the publishing director of Dennis Media Transasia.

“Maxim so far has been one of our most successful ventures,” says Downey. “We got the best response from India, which is why Sports Illustrated has been in the planning for sometime now. We are happy it’s finally happening during the festive season.”

The magazine has roped in ex-captain of the Indian cricket team Sourav Ganguly to pen a regular column, besides Farookh Engineer, who will be the other celebrated columnist.

“We are looking at in-depth features. That’s the gap we have identified in the Indian market,” explains Downey. The Group is initially planning to print one lakh copies that would be distributed from all Reebok outlets under a special tie-up with the footwear brand. Priced at Rs 100, it would also be hawked at regular book stores.

For the record, other established players in the men’s general interest magazine space are the weekly Sports Star priced at Rs 12 and the monthly Men’s World priced at Rs 100. Men’s World has a print run of approximately 60,000, while Sports Star’s circulation is a closely-guarded secret.

“For the inaugural issue, we have booked ads with leading automotive, liquor and apparel brands,” says Downey. “The fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2010 may be slightly tough, but after that, we see the going would be smooth for a high-quality, content-rich magazine,” he adds. According to industry estimates, the Indian magazine sector has the potential to evolve into Rs 3,800-crore industry in 2012, fuelled by a 20% compound annual growth rate. This would be in sharp contrast to the magazine publishing business in the US and the UK, where circulation of even the most popular magazines has dipped rapidly and advertising revenues got eroded in recent months.

Commenting on the release of Sports Illustrated, Ravi Kiran, chief executive officer, South Asia, Starcom Mediavest Group, has gone on record saying the ad pie in India must surely be large enough for Dennis Publishing to evince an interest in the evolving market

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September 29, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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