After sluggish pandemic years, ‘Diwali Anks’ are back with digital marketing
Apart from lights, sweets and firecrackers, Maharashtra has a distinct tradition of ‘Diwali Anks’, which are special magazines published during Diwali, a literary treat for Marathi readers, amid the festivities. After two years of pandemic sluggishness, they are back in the market with new programs such as combo deals, additional audiobooks and “Diwali Pahat” digital programs, embracing digital marketing to reach wider audiences.
The tradition of reading ‘Diwali Ank’ is dear to many Marathi households. It evolved into simpler times when adults and children spent their Diwali holidays reading various magazines ranging from social, philosophical, health and women’s issues to cartoons, humor and special children’s issues.
A century-old tradition in Maharashtra has definitely gone through a bleak two-year period during the pandemic. “The last two years have been difficult for some. There were a few that couldn’t post the issue or had to shut down. While the more established have struggled, slow response in advertisements has been a problem for Diwali magazines for some time and it has been a period of struggle over the past couple of years. But now bookings have already started and publishing houses are offering attractive programs,” said Arun Shevate, editor of the popular magazine “Ruturanga”.
The Granthali Prakashan, a publishing house, has decided to go ahead with its plan devised during the pandemic to sell a set of five Diwali magazines at a reduced rate. “This was launched during the pandemic for convenience and was really appreciated by readers. We have already started receiving bookings,” said Sudesh Hinglaspurkar, administrator of the publishing house. He added that from this year, the set of five magazines will offer a combined offer of additional audio stories and digital access to its “Diwali Pahat” programme.
‘Diwali Pahat’ is an integral part of the Diwali tradition in this state where people enjoy songs, music and other performing arts.
Hinglaspurkar said the idea of making it digitally available to the public came when he visited the United States last year. “The idea is to make a ‘Diwali Pahat’ program early, film it and make the video available to registered audiences on Diwali days. A special QR code will be given to customers registering for the group offer. The customer will be able to give this QR code to a limited number of people as a Diwali gift,” he said.
Social media platforms have become marketing venues for these magazines. Raviprakash Kulkarni, a journalist who has written on Marathi literature, said: “Even though it is said that the culture of reading is dying, these magazines are still struggling in adapting to the new times. In fact, the awareness of Diwali magazines is increasing with social media marketing. WhatsApp advertisement has become a great platform for Diwali magazines to reach more people.