9.9 Media to launch Indian version of Inc. this year

9.9 Media to launch Indian version of Inc. this year

New Delhi: New Delhi-based media company 9.9 Media Pvt. Ltd plans to launch in October the Indian version of Inc., a New York-based monthly magazine targeted at entrepreneurs and leaders of fast-growing companies.

India Inc. will be the second local version of a foreign business magazine to launch this year. In May, broadcaster Network18, founded by Raghav Bahl, started publishing the Indian edition of business magazine Forbes.

“We are targeting more high-growth, mid-size companies. It’ll be less about start-ups and more about entrepreneur, promoter-driven, high-growth companies," said Pramath Raj Sinha, one of the founders of New Delhi-based 9.9 Media. The magazine’s launch comes at a time when advertisers have cut back spending as they weather a downturn in economic growth.

“It’s a tough business. If you discount the environment, the trade magazine business is in fair shape because it is dependent and focused on buyers," said Jehil Thakkar, executive director and head of the media and entertainment services division at consultancy firm KPMG.

According to the 2009 report on the media and entertainment industry released by KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the magazine segment of the print industry is expected to grow at an annual compounded rate of 8.1% to Rs2,060 crore by 2013, from Rs1390 crore in 2008.

9.9 Media, which publishes technology magazine DIGIT, is looking to build a team of as many as six people to publish India Inc. in addition to contributions from experts and freelancers. The magazine was due to be launched in June, but because of the April-May general election, approvals from the ministry of information and broadcasting were delayed.

India Inc. is the first magazine to be launched by the company after it acquired Jasubhai Digital Media, which published magazines such as DIGIT and The CTO Forum, in December 2007.

Venture capital firm Helion Ventures Pvt. India II LLC and non-resident Indians bought stakes in 9.9 Media last year. Foreign holding in the company is around 26%.

The company is planning to launch about five more magazines, which will be in categories such as technology, education and small and medium business enterprises, in the current fiscal ending March. It has so far stayed away from general news media.

“We are much more focused in the niche media space. We think it’s a good space to build out when the rest of the industry is going through a tough phase. It’s more targeted," Sinha said.

“A third of the company’s revenue comes from the online space," said Sinha.

The company has also ventured into the field of media education with “9.9 School of Convergence". It adopted the brand name “School of Convergence" from Bobby Bedi-owned Kaleidoscope Entertainment, which ran the institute that shut two years back.

Sinha, founder dean of Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business, is again donning the dean’s hat at the institute, which will start an 11-month diploma course in applied journalism from September. The course fee is Rs1,95,000 and classes will be held once a week.