Boom in Indian Magazines

I used to love the variety of magazines I’d see in US bookshops and magazine stands. Now, the same diversity can be seen in India. More and more niche magazines are coming out, and each one seems to be different from the others of their ilk. This is happening even as the newspaper coverage has perhaps become less interesting and at times too flippant. I think the Indian reader is ready for some serious and insightful magazines.

One magazine I picked up twice from a nearby bookshop was “The Caravan.”  Here is how their website describes the magazine: “The Caravan is a literary magazine for the curious mind. It is a collection of interesting and narrative stories on domestic and international politics and social issues, culture, including the arts and literature, travel, sports, science and technology, environment, education and business.”

What attracted mewas the longish cover stories on politics – one on Mayawati, and another on fringe saffron group. I may not necessarily agree with everything they write, but this long-form journalism is increasingly missing from the likes of India Today and Outlook, and definitely absent from the dailies. And TV has become too sound-byte focused and very repetitive. At times, it becomes quite hard to figure out the deeper background and context of what’s happening. And that’s something that could be a good niche!

3 thoughts on “Boom in Indian Magazines

  1. And so the wheel spins a full circle again, I think. In the late 80’s/early 90’s – TV contributed to the death of quite a few popular English/Hindi/regional language magazines. Now the saturation of TV with the sound-bite culture brings back the longer form of journalism.

    In the US right now the next trough of the cycle is on with a lot of print media outlets having trouble transitioning to/competing with blogs/internet-based media.

  2. Risk capital will chase not incremental return but abnormal returns. There is no easy money to be made in newspapers and TV (none of the new firms are making any money) and there is a feeling by entrepreneurs like Goenkas of RPG they can crank up a new business by launching niche magazines (they are shortly launching Open will be a mash of Life and the New Yorker). True, the per capita consumption of news is still low in India but it remains to be seen if business executives without much editorial experience can weave their way into Indian minds. Then, will they have deep pockets to sustain these ventures for long enough to become profitable? Those who have lived long enough would remember that popular ones like the Weekly and Sunday could not sustained as a business proposition. Sadly, there is no money to be made in India from new magazines that carry long form articles, which some of us crave for.