1. Why does India need Maxim India?
The question is, how can India not need Maxim? We’re the best collection of content that appeals to young, urban men, packaged in a way that helps them navigate already information-heavy, busy lives. We’re the bright spark in an otherwise stuffy and arid landscape of men’s media. And now, eight years later, we’re the forerunners in helping men adjust to a social set-up where fun and liveliness are on the rise again.
2. What does Maxim look for in a reporter?
We’re very proud to have a large number of women on our staff, but I’m not saying that breasts are mandatory. The basic requirement is an inquisitive mind that sniffs out all the information and ideas that wouldn’t appeal to most people. Our content pillars require a high degree of humour, so you need to think irreverent and be funny too.
3. Is it difficult to attract advertising to the magazine given the amount of competition in the market in India?
We’re in the same position as every other magazine in the world, but the issue is more the platform than the competition. We’re still lucky that we have a large base of advertisers who support and understand the value we add to their media plans and customer-acquisition goals. That said, the men’s market is expanding in more ways than one, so we’re looking forward to the next couple of years.
4. Is there any sign in India that readers and advertising revenue of magazines such as yours are being hit by the internet, as has happened in England?
That’s a constant battle, but it would be unfair to single out the poor “internet.” The media market is no longer just a straight-out print and A-V pie. There are varied means in which readers and viewers consume content and Maxim is a bit ahead of the curve in many of these. We’re constantly adding capabilities to broaden our base of content dissemination. We have some exciting plans that I’m not at liberty to discuss at this point. We’re geniuses, I might add.
[quote]Our global experience and the learnings over the last eight years stand us in good stead, but each month is a new battle that must be fought on the newsstand and on the mindset front.[end_quote]
5. Is it a good thing for India that it is a case of anything goes in terms of images on the front page of Indian lifestyle magazines these days?
Nothing could be further from the truth. We’re a country of many, many layers and you have to secure a delicate balance. Maxim is brash but polished, Maxim is sexy but not crass, Maxim is your friend but also your social prism. Our global experience and the learnings over the last eight years stand us in good stead, but each month is a new battle that must be fought on the newsstand and on the mindset front. I’m very happy to report that we’re still winning.
[quote]We only have women on the cover, and I’m very happy with that.[end_quote]
6. Which Indian celebrities should UK people be looking at for in the news in the next couple of years?
We only have women on the cover, and I’m very happy with that. It would be unfair to list names because each woman has her own grace and packs her own punch, but it’ll suffice to say that the Maxim Covergirl is the high-point of all things pop in that month.
7. What titles do you read and why?
It’ll be surprising to list, and I often have to evade boots and eggs every time I say this. I read the global editions of Maxim, and Discover, New Scientist, Wired, Travel + Leisure, Dwell and Evo. The solitary men’s magazine, apart from the global editions of Maxim, is Esquire.
Interview by Hamant Verma