In a year that we expect will witness consolidation and/or shut-down’s in India’s magazine industry, German magazine major Burda has announced its intent to enter the market in a big way. It has acquired Indian media house Exposure Media Marketing, said it’s going to invest Rs 150 crore, and this is after its group company Burda Druck GmbH bought out acquired HT Media’s 51% stake in its joint venture HT Burda Media Ltd for Rs 60 crore.

While the amount that it has bought Exposure Media Marketing (EMM) for an undisclosed amount, readers might recall that its group company Hurbert Burda Media had sought an approval of an investment of up to Rs 7 crore from India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), and had sought permission to set up a Wholly owned Subsidiary (WoS) of the Hubert Burda Media group in India, “which will act as an operating and investing company and make downstream investment in the Indian company which prints and publishes magazines.”

Exposure Media Marketing was founded in 2003 by Rajiv and Parineeta Sethi, and EMM publishes the Indian editions of AsiaSpa, Millionaire Asia, Asia-Pacific Boating, Selling World Travel, Designer Mode and Audi magazine. It also hosts a range of key events and trade fairs, including the Millionaire Summit, Precious Golf and the AsiaSpa Wellness and Beauty Exhibition, and according to Massimo Monti, MD of Hubert Burda Media India, EMM brings with it a rolodex of high net worth individuals: “database of affluent, influential individuals, constituting a very desirable target group for luxury advertisers.”

Burda International GmbH is active in 17 markets and currently publishes over 230 maga-zines as well as a large number of digital media services.

It also organizes the rather popular DLD conference in Germany.

The Germans Are Coming

Burda is not the only German media major active in the Indian market. The Bertelsmann group has been busy – albeit only in the digital space:

– It invested in Educomp subsidiary WizIQ (read more)
– It’s subsidiary Gruner + Jahr acquired mobile ad network Seventy Nine from the Smile Vun Group (read more)
– Gruner + Jahr also acquired NetworkPlay, a events, ad sales and media company which was backed by Network18 group. (read more)

A Year Of Change For The Magazine Biz In India

From conversations with magazine publishers and industry observers, we gather that there are magazines in India that are up for sale, or struggling to survive. With an advertising market that is currently reducing spends (because of political uncertainty and a struggling economy), there is a sense that spends are mainly shifting to digital, where the audience base is growing, from magazines, where the base appears to be declining. My sense is that we are likely to see a few publishers in each magazine segment remain, but many niche publishers will struggle to survive. We might also see more publications switch to the web, as well as more online media startups.

This is an opportune moment for a large player to try and acquire struggling magazines, and try and do a roll-up of publications combining magazines and events, and take some of these publications online.

Interesting times ahead.