Manorama’s magazines

Producing affordable magazines

Vanitha 15 to 31 December 2014 issue/ Vanitha 15 to 31 December 2014 supplementary/ Vanita in Hindi December 2014 issue

“The Manorama Group policy is to make magazines affordable. Though we offer nearly 150 pages of glossy color content, our price at below `40 for our top-of-the-line magazines is low, with revenues coming largely from advertising,” says Suresh Ninan, general manager, works.

In 1972, MM Publications, a sister unit of Malayala Manorama started publishing magazines with Balarama, a children’s magazine that became a profitable and popular diversification of the 125-year-old newspaper group. Today the group produces 15 magazines including Vanitha – India’s largest circulated magazine.

Printed fortnightly in two languages, Vanitha which is directed at women has a Malayalam edition with a paid circulation of 7.5 lakhs (750,000) and a Hindi edition with a paid circulation of 1.9 lakhs (190,000). Nearly one out of 20 women in Kerala subscribe to Vanitha giving it a strong market and reach. Among the group’s other popular magazines is Aarogyam – a health and wellness magazine for the family focused on fitness and lifestyle issues with a circulation of 1.98 lakhs and Veedu – a design and interior magazine with circulation of 85,000 copies. Apart from these the group publishes the best-selling English language newsweekly, The Week, the popular Malayalam language cookery magazine Pajalam, children’s magazines including Magic Pot and Akkar Bakkar as well as three preschool magazines.

Managing varied content 

“We manage a content flow of four weeklies, two fortnightlies, seven monthlies, one quarterly and one annually published magazine,” says Ninan. All are produced in full color and in three basic sizes. Without the use of a workflow software we produce these sequentially with the entire content pagination as well as the web sites of each managed in-house. The Manorama design team uses Indesign for page design and WoodWing for its editorial system. Asked about how Manorama will meet Adobe’s new policy of collecting rentals on its cloud based software applications, Ninan said this is definitely a challenge that had to be appropriately met in the future. 

The in-line quarter folder 

Like many if not most magazine publishers in India who print for themselves and are not commercial printers, Manorama uses a host of refurbished heatset web offset presses. These include a Heidelberg Harris M1000B with a combination folder and a Technicon VLS1 stacker and two Komori heatsets — LR 435 S and LR 435 2.

Four months ago Manorama installed a new Lovaghy HQF in-line quarter folder from Canada. The mobile quarter folder has the capability to produce a 32-page or 64- page quarter folded product after the printed and folded copies have exited the press and the stacker. A simple mechanism is used to turn the folded copies exiting the press and roller crush the new spines. The HQF folder can handle a conveyor speed of 300 feet a minute which translates into 72,000 copies an hour – dovetailing at the tail end of the Komori machine after the folder, stacker and exit conveyor.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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