New Delhi: Despite the 10-week nationwide lockdown in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic that caused major disruptions, India Today magazine ensured that it maintained its unblemished record of 44 years of publication without missing an issue. It also adopted innovative methods to ensure that its 9.5 million-strong readership got to read a weekly copy of the magazine.
During this period, the India Today editorial team produced the most comprehensive coverage of Covid-19’s impact on India by any periodical. From the time Lockdown 1.0 was declared on March 24, India Today magazine has brought out 12 consecutive cover stories on the issue. These focused on answering the burning questions of how to survive the lockdown, revive the flailing economy, prevent a breakdown, and solve the migrants’ mess, apart from the unlock-down strategy. In doing so, the magazine has overtaken its earlier record of devoting the maximum number of consecutive covers to a single issue–nine during the Kargil War of 1999. Alongside, India Today has been publishing a special daily digital newsletter that has provided sharp and crucial insights into the Corona crisis.
To beat the disruption in distribution caused by the lockdown and ensure that the magazine reached its readers at this critical juncture, India Today adopted innovative methods to ensure delivery. Since most traditional delivery points were closed, finding new channels of distribution was key to its success. India Today added over a thousand outlets where the magazine was available in a sanitized format and with least handling effort, along with tie-ups with FMCG distributors in six cities. Three hundred unconventional outlets were also added. Copies were placed in essential goods shops: supermarkets, grocery shops, and chemists across nine cities. India Today magazines in English and Hindi were distributed to all readers for free.
To ensure the utmost safety and hygiene standards even at these delivery points, the India Today Group adopted several measures, including providing self-protection gear like masks, face shields, and gloves to newsstands to ensure the safety of the vendors as well as newsstand buyers. The magazine also focused on digital platforms to expand its reach. As the lockdown hit, the group made the digital editions of the magazine free for readers to download on their devices. In addition, the magazines maintained connect with its 9.5 million readers through newsletters, television, e-mailers, WhatsApp,+, and other social media platforms. The efforts resulted in India Today magazines seeing close to over 1.5 million downloads through digital platforms, and the magazine adding more subscribers even in these unprecedented circumstances.