India Today, India’s leading and most-read magazine, powered by a dual approach of innovative distribution and institutional partnerships are on a streak of breaking records. The 46th Anniversary issue of India Today has hit the stands this Christmas with a massive 25% growth in circulation.
Crossing 135 clients with 376 pages in its 46th-anniversary issue – categories like Pharma, Education, Automobiles, Public Sector, Banking and Finance, Tourism, and FMCG are all gaining attention, packed in a single issue, which is higher than the average weekly client base of most news channels. To name a few Alcon Laboratories, Berger Paints, Bihar Tourism, BPCL, Central Bank of India, Chattisgarh Government, Honda, Gujarat Tourism, Godfrey Philips, HDFC, IDBI, ICICI Bank, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, L&T, LIC, Patanjali, Radico, Volkswagon, Volvo and many more.
For its 46th anniversary issue, India Today will feature the trailblazers of India Tomorrow – those 40 years of age and below – entrepreneurs, politicians, entertainers, activists, scientists, inventors, writers, artists, lawyers and law enforcers and bureaucrats – who are India’s brightest stars on the horizon. Included are young digital moguls like Sriharsha Majety, co-founder of Swiggy, star manufacturers like Aman Gupta, co-founder of boAt, entertainers like actor Alia Bhat and filmmaker Karthick Naren, politicians like Tejashvi Yadav, Aditya Thackeray, Abhishek Mukherjee, Tejasvi Surya, and Hardik Patel, activists like Disha Ravi and Aishe Ghosh, young writers like Manu Pillai and Nisha Susan, Scientists like Ravi Prakash ( winners BRICS Young Innovator Prize) and host of others who will be the torchbearers of India’s future.
Ever since the restrictions of the second lockdown were lifted earlier this year, both Newsstand Sales and Subscription sales have been on a high growth trajectory giving the magazine a very healthy growth rate of over 14 % month over month. This trailblazing growth post-pandemic has resulted in the magazine recovering 80% of its pre-lockdown (March’20) circulation till Nov 2021. This growth is fuelled by Re-imagining a thoughtful strategy creating alternate channels for distribution that have increasingly become the mainline point of sales for magazines.
These channels include Grocery Stores, like Spencer’s, Patanjali Mega Mart, Milk Booths, Vegetable outlets, etc., Grocery applications, like Milk Basket, Fresh To Home Daily, and E-Commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart where physical copies are sold. Innovative magazine stands with Sanitizer dispensers were placed at the entrances of Grocery stores with the line ‘Immunity for your Body and Mind’. These helped create substantial interest among readers. As people had more time during lockdowns and grocery store visits became a necessity, the magazine was able to acquire new readers.
During the bounce back, India Today Group immediately shifted its focus to the travel industry. Ties with large travel stores chains like WH Smiths were strengthened, as a result, sales volumes from these stores have now surged to 10% more than their pre-covid levels. Air India too resumed offering India Today to their executive class flyers. To cater to the increasing demand of flyers for India Today, Air India had to increase their off-take to three times their pre-COVID supplies.
In addition to the Print Circulation, The publication has aggressively pushed its digital subscriptions all through the lockdown. Its Pay-Per-View and micropayment models for premium content are implemented on the website as well, resulting in the thriving of its digital-first paid subscribers. This further expanded the reach of India Today Magazine in all print and digital formats reaching every nook and corner of the nation.
Talking about the milestone that the publication achieved, CEO, Publishing, ITG Manoj Sharma said, “India Today was the only publication in India to continue printing and distribution even when the whole country was under lockdown. In fact, we have emerged to be the only publication in the country to have never missed even a single issue in the last 46 years of its publishing history. This achievement has only been possible because of the dedicated and relentless efforts of the entire team of India Today.”
Sharma added, adversity pushed us to reinvent… pandemic came as huge learning and turned into an advantage as it not only brought about Non-conventional outlets into play but also pushed a major part of our distribution to modern retail beyond newsstands and roadside hawkers. While earlier people had to make an effort to reach out to newsstands to buy a copy of India Today, now the same can be picked up along with their regular purchase of grocery products or daily essentials. This convenience will certainly push up the sales further, going forward.
India Today Group, which has the largest distribution network for magazines across the country also distributes more than 30 brands from 12 National and 3 international publishers, apart from its own products. We will use the new channels of distribution for all our business associates as well, which will bring in the economy of scale as well. This large bouquet of magazines has also helped us in strengthening our ties with large travel stores chains like WH Smiths as a substantial chunk of magazine sales for these stores is from The India Today Group supplied brands. With regular insights and data analysis support provided by us, sales volumes from these stores have now bounced back to the pre-covid levels. With the holiday season coming up, is expected to grow even further.