Hindu Group to broaden vernacular play with Tamil magazine launch

The Hindu Group, one of the largest and oldest publishing houses in India, is looking to broaden its vernacular-language play with the launch of a new Tamil weekly magazine. The group, publisher of English dailies The Hindu.

The move to enter the estimated Rs 5-billion Tamil magazine market, considered to be a crowded one, comes as the language publication space booms. 

The recently released Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2017 said that magazine readership almost doubled to 78 million last year from 40 million three years ago. Twenty-one million readers of this incremental 38 million readership number came from urban areas. The balance 17 million came from rural areas.

While the management and board members of the Hindu Group were not available for comment, market sources said the new magazine would be launched by next month. It will be part of the entity publishing The Hindu Tamil, they said.

As things stand now, there are almost 40-50 Tamil magazines, but dominant players include regional groups such as Ananda Vikatan, Kumudam, Kungumam and Puthiya Thalaimurai. The IRS 2017 shows that readership of Tamil magazines from these four groups totaled 8.77 million.

National media groups, however, are yet to make a mark in the Tamil space. A few years ago, India Today group decided to close the Tamil edition of its popular weekly magazine for want of readership and advertising revenue.

Since literacy levels in the south remain high, magazines there typically cater to a wide array of readers with specialised editions covering subjects such as health, agriculture, education, fine arts and astrology.

While the Hindu group has editorial and printing infrastructure to publish English-language publications including magazines such as Sportstar, bringing out a vernacular magazine is a different ball game altogether, a senior industry professional, who declined to be identified, said.

He says that apart from content, marketing plays a major role here as well, from putting up posters in the right places and targeting the right audience to tapping digital to reach the young consumer.

Sources in the know say that the Hindu group may look at more magazines in Tamil language going forward, including one targeting women, another dedicated to sports and a third targeting the health domain.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel