The Association of Indian Magazines (AIM) announced the launch of a mega content marketing studio, which will draw in the collective strengths of more than 125 magazine titles, their websites and digital media assets, to offer to marketers innovative content marketing solutions that can reach over 150 mn Indians. Dastaan Hub is a first of it’s kind initiative by publishers in the world, that seeks to expand content marketing opportunities for brand marketers, and offer them engaging and innovative solutions, across multiple languages, demographics, interest groups, and formats.
The studio has been put together by AIM member publishers, recognising the increasing need at marketers end to move from vanilla display advertising towards developing engaging content solutions for narrating compelling brand stories.
Magazines, an immersive medium
Commenting on Dastaan Hub, AIM president B Srinivasan (Ananda Vikatan), said, “Magazines by their very essence are a deeply immersive medium, and are trusted for the depth in their editorial content. Moreover, magazines cater to highly engaged communities, and each magazine publishing team has deep insights into their readers’ emotional psyches and consumer interests. This is where they have inherent strength for partnering with brands for creating compelling brand stories.”
He further added, “Most marketers tend to miss out on the immense reach of magazines in the country. As per IRS 2019, the total readership of magazines was close to 9 crores, which was an increase of about a crore over 2017 IRS. So magazines offer a perfect blend of reach and deep engagement, and therefore relevance of branded content”.
Some of the leading participating publishers in Dastaan Hub are India Today, Ananda Vikatan, Delhi Press, Outlook, Malayala Manorama magazines, Network 18 magazines, ABP magazines, Business World, and Diamond Publications. The collective print reach of these publications is over 50 mn, a digital reach of over 100 mn, and a spread across 10 languages.
The studio is being led by industry veteran Shripad Kulkarni, who along with a team of experienced professionals will offer full content marketing solution in appropriate multiple formats like Video, Shorts, Podcast, Articles, Panel Discussion, fblive, Contests, and Social Media Posts.
Explaining how it will work, Shripad said, “Dastaan Hub team will be following a 3-step process. A classical first, studying the category and brand challenges. Second, the creative and strategy team will customise native communication-led ideas, based on client brief. And then add an O2O, online to offline media delivery plan. All this will be co created to capture the essence of the dialogue the brands want to have with their customers”
Commenting on Dastaan Hub, Yogesh Dashrath, Country Manager, Storytel India, said, “Stories are a powerful means to influence and inspire. So I am sure that the Dastaan Hub plan to recreate brand stories in the regional language and cultural context will greatly help brands to connect with their customer”
Pawan Sarda, Group CMO, Future Group, remarked “Each region, each State of India is unique. So, there are so many cultural and contextual nuances one needs to keep in mind. The Dastaan hub initiative, is a good single window opportunity to connect with customers across the length and breadth of India”
Collaborative working by AIM under pandemic
Over the past year, AIM member publishers have collaborated at various levels to tide over the challenging times that print media has been facing. There are multiple initiatives that AIM has put together, of which Dastaan Hub is just one of them. Magazine publishers have carved out a comprehensive strategy to tackle the fundamental challenges in distribution as well.
Speaking on this, AIM General Secretary, Anant Nath (Delhi Press), said, “It is no secret that there has been erosion of interest in magazines by marketers, and that we have been facing some serious problems in maintaining our distribution. Therefore as a first step, we collaborated to tackle this fundamental problem. A joint distribution agency network has been put together by AIM, so that publishers can take advantage of collective bargaining and increase their footprint across geographies. Secondly, massive efforts have been put to improve the subscription eco-system, which includes working with Indian Post to improve delivery, as well as joint subscription marketing efforts. As a result the subscription numbers across publishers have increased during pandemic, to compensate for loss in newsstand”.
Manoj Sharma of India Today further added, “Dastaan Hub is a logical extension of our distribution efforts as we are confident that we can deliver highly engaged audiences to our advertisers. At the same time, we will be careful to ensure that this branded content will follow global ethical guidelines of content marketing, as reader trust is of utmost importance to us”.
Indranil Roy of Outlook remarked, “We are confident that with our collaborative working across distribution, subscription marketing, and now Dastaan Hub, our magazines will strengthen their deeply engaging relationship with readers as well as brand partners”.