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FIPP looks at opportunities in Asia

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The worldwide rush to extend successful magazines into new countries continues even as publishers increasingly focus on using the Internet to customize magazine brands to keep them relevant to readers and advertisers.

At last month's 35th World Magazine Congress of the International Federation of the Periodical Press in New York, China and India were frequently cited by media owners as the two countries that will see the most magazine launches in the next few years. Of course, the enthusiasm was tempered with caution.

"India is having a media boom fuelled by new advertisers who want to reach new middle-class consumers," Harold "Terry" McGraw III, chairman-president-CEO of McGraw-Hill Cos., said. "Ad spending in print is expected to grow 5% this year."

But McGraw sounded frustrated as he described his company's situation in India. BusinessWeek has just 7,000 subscribers to its pan-Asian edition in India and would like to produce a local edition printed in the country. Yet "the Indian government won't give us a license to do so," McGraw said. "I understand more than 100 magazines are in the queue for a license."

Renetta McCann, CEO of Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group, warned print media owners to focus on adapting content for delivery. Magazines need to be able to digitally deliver titles that can be adapted and reconfigured by consumers. "Ours is a `my media' world," she said.

Laurel Wentz is international editor of Media Business sibling publication Advertising Age.

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