Jamming with the young and restless
Priyanka Sinha in an interview with editor Rashmi Bansal unearths the trade secrets.Updated: Feb 01, 2007, 23:19 IST
Just Another Magazine (JAM) -- a magazine of, for and by the young. Is it any surprise that the fortnightly, which could well be the last word in youthful irreverence, has been around for 11 years and seems geared up to take on another decade if not more.
JAM has been around for more than a decade...what started it off?
It started as a response to the need for a magazine that reflected the attitude, aspirations, hopes and dreams of the youth. Not a magazine written by old geezers, talking down to young people but a magazine of, for and by the youth themselves.
Did it start as a college magazine?
No. From day one JAM was a youth magazine that focused on college students. Students are not just readers but active participants in the magazine. The content in JAM is the result of the creative energies and passion of its 500 odd college reporters or Jobs (JAM Bureau Chiefs) across India. A regular (somewhat mad) bunch of young people works at JAM. And a large number of young people contribute to its content as JAM's college reporters (JBCs - JAM Bureau Chiefs). JAM is a platform where many of today's fine minds in journalism; advertising, television etc got their first break.
Yatin Bansal, the CEO, comes from an advertising background and I am the editor with a bachelor's degree in Economics from Sophia College and an MBA degree from IIM Ahmedabad.
In addition, there are senior professionals handling important functions such as marketing, distribution etc.
What is the magazine's circulation?
JAM's current circulation is 36,000 copies a fortnight. It is an ABC certified publication
Is there a method to the madness? What's the business model that you follow?
There is a definite method to the madness. Like any magazine, JAM's revenues come in largely from advertising. The who's who of youth brands advertise in JAM -Pepsi, Motorola, Maybelline, Airtel, Nokia, P & G, Hindustan Lever - to name just a few. We do get revenues from subscriptions but the magazine is priced at just Rs 8 - so it is very affordable for young people.
JAM as a youth media company also had multiple revenue streams from youth events and marketing services as well as online and mobile content. For example in November 2006 JAM conducted the first ever 'CAT concert' which was held in four cities (Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Bangalore). The idea was for students who just gave the CAT exam to let their hair down the same evening. The event was telecast on national TV.
Some of the content (the spoof) is rather juvenile? Why not go a step further and follow the MAD magazine format?
Yes, we use a satirical cartoon on our cover. Humour is a means of communicating JAM's irreverent attitude. While we love MAD, JAM has its own unique identity and is a YOUTH magazine not just a humour magazine.
Describe an average JAM reader.
An intelligent young person with a mind of his/ her own. Someone who is cool but does not mindlessly follow fashions or fads. Rather, he or she is a trendsetter - someone others look up to.
What kind of salaries do you pay your staff?
As per industry standards!
What is an archetypal JAM article like?
Anything we do is slightly unique or different.
What are the changes you have introduced to keep up with the changing times?
Young people have become more tech savvy and have tools like mobile phones and Internet. But at heart they are still quite confused on matters such as careers. They still need guidance from a trusted source - and JAM is their friend.
What's the IIM connection?
JAM guides students wishing to join B-schools in a credible and comprehensive manner. We are the only publication, which puts students first. If a college is not up to the mark, we do not hesitate to say so (after due investigation). I am an IIM Ahmedabad graduate and that too helps us build a rapport with Business school students and aspirants.
Your success mantra?
Believe in what you do, do what you believe in.