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Sex, fashion or future for Gen X?
Maitreyee Handique |
February 11, 2005
hile India's population under the age of 25 has touched 500 million, the youth newspaper and magazine market is virtually non-existent.
Last year, however, Ajay Jain, CEO of Vertex Medianet Ltd, started a fortnightly newspaper for college students, called The Campus Paper.
Useful information is important!
Aimed at the 16 to 24 age group, the paper's main objective is to give the young audience information they can use.
"The youth today are more worried about their own future than fashion and sex," says Jain, who is also the editor of the paper.
Vertex has recently signed an in-principle agreement for foreign direct investment.
Addressing the five lakh college-going students in the Delhi region, the 20-page paper provides news on campus, careers, sports and technology, most of them written by students themselves.
To fill the huge demand-supply gap in the youth magazine market, bigger players had entered the fray last year.
Bennett, Coleman & Co, for instance, launched its paper for schoolchildren, Newspaper In Education, in October 2004.
"While the NIE programme already existed, the content has been customised for children between 12 and 16. We will expand to other cities wherever the Times Of India brand exists," says Rahul Kansal, the TOI brand director.
While NIE reaches 100 schools in Mumbai and 600 schools in Delhi, HT Next, a product of the Hindustan Times group launched last year, has a print run of 1,80,000 copies a day and reaches 1,150 schools in Delhi.
TCP is now distributed free at call centres, book shops and food outlets.
"We are following the popular global model of youth magazines -- of keeping a limited number of copies in strategic locations. When demand builds, we will invite subscriptions," says Jain.
To increase subscription, Vertex has tied up with movie theatres and restaurants for free tickets and coupons.
Why have most youth magazines failed?
Yatin Bansal, CEO of Jam Venture Publishing, which brings out the youth magazine Jam from Mumbai, says, "Most people who ran those magazines lost touch with the youth."
While youth readership is picking up in genres, like music and automobiles, Bansal says the market has barely touched 25 percent of the youth population.
With youth playing a critical role in influencing brands, corporates houses will increasingly rely on these magazines for information. Jam, for instance, has already conducted surveys for Tata Indicom and Hindustan Lever.