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Sambhar Mafia - Cooked To Kill!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Magazine Covers – Easily Predictable

There is a Top 10 for anything and everything

During my weekly visit to the newsstands I saw that India Today and Business Today have come out with the list of Top 10 Colleges and Top Business Schools respectively. June is peak period for College Admissions and the India Today Group knows how to cash in on the craze. Anxious parents and students would be lapping up these magazines. Topics like Education are big money spinners in India. The type of ads that are featured in these special issues are quite different from the usual ads that you see week after week. If a magazine runs a cover story on Top Colleges and Business Schools, you can’t miss the plethora of ads by the not so famous colleges and Business schools. All these colleges wax eloquent about the world-class labs, infrastructure & library facilities that they possess. But most of us might not have even heard of the names of these institutions.

Based on my observation I have outlined some of the themes Magazines use for their Cover Stories

  • Best Colleges and Business Schools
  • Best Schools
  • Best Hospitals
  • Best Restaurants
  • Best States in India
  • Best Cities to Live / Work
  • Best Companies to Work for
  • Best Chief Ministers
  • Best Union Ministers
  • Best Fashion Designers
  • Most influential people in the country
  • Top earners
  • Hot careers / sectors for employment
  • What Men Like about Women
  • What Women Like about Men

This is just an indicative list and more such topics can be added to this. My guess is that whenever the magazine doesn’t have any meat for a cover story then they use such topics. All three weekly magazines (Outlook, India Today and The Week) seem to be using these themes quite regularly. Between the 3 magazines you can be assured that all the above topics will be covered atleast once during each calendar year.

My mind has been programmed in such a way that I end up reading the last 2 pages of these magazines (For e.g.: Glitterati section of Outlook) before I read the Cover Story and the other main articles. This is not something new as some of us have the habit of seeing the Sports Column / Entertainment Section of the newspaper before reading the front page.

Indian News Feeds

I have started reading Indian News thru RSS feeds. I have subscribed to Indian Express group (Indian Express & Financial Express), Rediff and Outlook. ToI group doesn’t have RSS feeds as yet and even if they do have it, I’m unlikely to subscribe to them. Maybe ToI feels that the click rates on their ads will fall if they introduce RSS feeds. Are you aware of any other Indian news site that has RSS feeds?

ToI & ET site layout

Wouldn’t you feel irritated if a single news article is published in 8 different parts? This has been my experience with the online editions of ToI and ET.


  • Kaps, I found a way to avoid the pain of reading an article in different parts on ET and TOI. You need to click on the print page link. That will put the entire content on one page - without ads and open a print window. push the print window to the bottom of the screen, read the article and then go the print window again and click cancel. the window closes... done!!

    By Blogger Sriram, at 4:32 PM  

  • Firstly, do you qualify articles in TOI as "News"??? They'd rather be talking about Mallika Sherawat's vital stats or Ash Rai's affair with Vivek Oberoi!!! One paper that utterly doesnt deserve to be called a "news" paper!

    But yeah, the multi part thingy is a pain!

    By Blogger Nithya Swaminathan, at 4:43 PM  

  • Eight parts to a single article is a PITA (i am an acronym junkie). So much PITA that I stopped reading TOI. I hate the popups on the Rediff site - and the spyware that it tries to install. Same for samachar.

    PITA : Pain In The Ass

    By Blogger The Village Idiot / Soldier, at 5:37 PM  

  • ok...abt ur suggestions for cover stories, most of these have been covered/rehashed...
    and the last two...don't u think they are too "cosmopolitan"ish...?
    can't really see India Today, Week, taking it up...
    but again, they would if they succumb to "dumbing down" pressures...they might just stoop to that level...Outlook has and soon the other might follow suit...

    By Blogger chitra, at 8:14 PM  

  • Chitra,

    The last 2 are definitely cosmopolitanish. Both Outlook and India Today have handled these subjects before. Pls refer to India Today issue published sometime in Sep 2004. Week is a bit more conservative and hence may not do so. But Week is a poor third in the subscription race.

    By Blogger Kaps, at 8:23 PM  

  • Its really Pain in the ass to read one article in many parts. i hate it very uch, What sriram suggested seems to work. Thanks Sriram.

    But online news sites arent like the print media.. they just dump anything and everything as news. every site does that! thats the pity!!!

    By Blogger Chez, at 9:03 PM  

  • may be you could try BBC south asia edition. It has RSS feeds. But you get news from the whole of Southasia in that case.

    By Anonymous kamesh, at 11:36 PM  

  • Kaps:-)

    Intresting blog title!!
    Well as for me I stick to bbc.co.uk only :-( But you give me an inspiration to try RSS feeds...


    By Blogger Smyta, at 12:04 AM  

  • Here is my title for the next magazine cover (of any magazine):

    Ten Best Ways to Get on the Cover of this Magazine without your having to pay us for it!

    (no references to TOI obviously :-))

    Appadi pottaal BEST KANNAA BEST!


    By Blogger thennavan, at 12:58 AM  

  • i agree with Nithya, but i also know that the Sun sells more copies in London than the Herald Tribune:)
    People dont wanna hear stuff like earthquake in japan, bush slams iran...they rather see aishwarya and vivek or maybe mallika sherawat!:)

    By Blogger Arch Storm, at 7:18 AM  

  • Bottom line for the magazines is 'Money'. They cover any 'Best'.

    I look at the TIME, NWEek Magazines, they have a trend. But in a cycle a health issue, college issue, schools, teens, kids, etc..will show up.!

    During my school /College days, Indian magz. did not cover foreign schools, colleges. But these days, its all changed.

    By Blogger Narayanan Venkitu, at 8:08 AM  

  • Fantastic analysis Kaps :-)

    Have you noticed how many of the TOI headlines has "Techies" in it? BTW, TOI has gone to the dogs.....

    By Anonymous Mitali, at 9:19 AM  

  • Oh..now i know how all these IT companies come once in a yr, in atleast one mag. Hmm..its a kind of free publicity :)

    By Blogger JaganLee, at 12:40 PM  

  • Yes, none of the mainstream magazines are worth reading. India Today, Week and Outlook are more lifestyle mags while Frontline is ultra-leftist in its point of view. However probably they have figured out that only lifestyle-soft sex etc sells well. One serious magazine "the Indian Review" had to be withdrawn because of poor sales.

    By Blogger Shivaji, at 1:46 PM  

  • I've been reading India Today for quite sometime. They are the masters in this. When they have no hot news in politics, they know that the best way to improve circulation is either give a feature of the city life in Metros, or an article about Bollywood (this varies in their Tamil and Malayalam editions), or the top10 list, or the once you said, sensual articles about the sexual relationships. So now I do not read them anymore, I can find better tabloids for cheap rates here. :-) And not to forget "The Frontline" from Hindu excels than them all. They are still the same.

    By Blogger Jo, at 2:34 PM  

  • Sometime back, I remember seeing the articles on top actors / films etc.,in one of these magazines.

    I would be happy, if they don't compete with me in my analysis....:-):-) :-)

    By Blogger Ram.C, at 2:50 PM  

  • oops...!
    after i posted the comment, i went to the archives section here @ work and was browsing and happened to find the issue that u have mentioned...
    super foor-in-mouth....don't u think?

    By Blogger chitra, at 5:45 PM  

  • Things are no different in this part of the globe either. Every year you can expect
    -- The best companies to work for
    -- The best companies that supports diversity
    -- Top women business leaders
    -- Best business schools
    -- Top 500 companies
    -- Fastest growing companies
    -- The companies that have the most outside directors

    What to expect... these journos need to make a living too

    By Blogger Venky Krishnamoorthy, at 1:28 AM  

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