Sunday, August 05, 2012

A whole new kind of controlled circulation: rickshaw magazine tied down

Some enterprising publishers in Mumbai, India have created a monthly magazine called Meter Down that is aimed at affluent young professionals who can afford to travel by motorized rickshaws in the crowded streets in the city of 14 million people.
According to a story in The Guardian, the magazine was started by three recent graduates in February 2010 and is now carrried by 7,000 rickshaws in Mumbai and other western India cities such as Pune and Ahmedabad.
Drivers are lured into the scheme with a share of 35-40% of the profit from advertising sales. That works out at around 200-250 rupees (£2.30-£2.87) each, according to Mulchand Dedhia, 26, one of the founding trio. Mumbai auto drivers make 400-500 rupees working a normal shift, according to the Mumbai Autorickshawmen's Union.
Designing a publication to be read while travelling on Mumbai's famously pot-holed and chaotic streets had its own challenges, said Dedhia. After an initial trial his team decided to keep articles short and snappy, with no article longer than 300 words. There are lots of pictures too.
To stop passengers taking the magazine with them, it is tied to a shelf in the vehicle.
One of the partners, Mulchand Dedhia, says that each three-wheeled rickshaw makes 90-95 trips in a 24-hour period which would represent a readership of 600,000. In addition to on-page advertising, the company sells ads on the back and the inside of the rickshaws, which are nicknamed tuk-tuks for the noise they make (they are powered by compressed natural gas engines). Rickshaws are cheap by comparison to western taxis -- a three-mile ride costs 68 rupees (about 10 times the equivalent second class train ticket) -- but too expensive for most Indians to use regularly.



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