Where is the world's fastest growing market these days for glossy magazine? The surprising answer: India.
In the past two years no less than ten up-market foreign magazines have launched Indian editions. Twenty more – according to the Wall Street Journal – are expected to start publishing this year. Indian versions of Marie Claire. Maxim and Good Housekeeping are already being published.
Vogue and several others are expected to join them soon. Even Playboy and Penthouse are making plans – although their's may be somewhat watered down versions.
The big attraction is the growing number of affluent readers in India – and the advertisers keen to cash in on India's expanding middle class, estimated these day to exceed 300 million.
Magazines in the US and Europe, faced with declining markets, are all looking for new outlets. India is seen as vast untapped market. In 2005 advertisers in India spent the equivalent of almost $3,000 million dollars – a figure predicted to grow at least ten per cent annually over the next five years.
The only fly in the ointment, the WSJ concedes, is the expansion of television and the Internet. The feeling nevertheless is that India – where more than $14,000 million dollars is spent every year on luxury goods is likely to be the publishing world's "hot spot" over the coming years.
Some of the world's most famous companies – among them Chanel, Versace, Piaget, Harryv Winston and Burberry – are already taking space in the new magazines.
Some of the magazines, the WSJ notes, are already more full of ads than their Western counterparts.
As an example Maxim said it sold all its ad space for the first year – before even one copy had been printed.
While many of the new publications are being launched in partnership with local publishing houses, some are going it alone.
Conde Nast for example has decided to publish its Indian version of Vogue on its own. The first issue is due to hit the new stands in the autumn