Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday newsstands are being renewed with the most gaudy Georgian editions. On the aforementioned days the new editions of the Tbiliselebi, the Rating, the Sarke and the Gza magazines come out. The Tbiliselebi is the thickest edition (the previous one was 108 pages) and costs considerably higher GEL 1,50. The rest of the magazines are available at GEL 1 (the previous week editions of the Rating, the Sarke and the Gza are 96, 88 and 98 pages respectively).
Out of the aforementioned editions the Sarke was the pioneer in the Georgian media market. It has been coming out since January 23,1998, followed by the Gza - March 2000, the Tbiliselebi - 2001 and the Rating - 2003. These editions have already undergone the age of self-inculcation, "the youngest" of them has been in the Georgian market for seven years now but none of the editorial staffs responded us regarding the circulation, stating it's their commercial secret.
For several months now these editions have been offered with the books attached for a lower price. The Sarke offers its readers Georgian poetry, the Gza - Georgian Prose, the Tbiliselebi - world literature and best sellers, the Rating - world detective stories. According to Vazha Shengelia, commercial director, the Sarke it was a step to be taken to brace the sales up.
The scarcity of the Georgian market and financial crisis would have naturally affected the sales but it's enough to look through these editions to get sure there is another reason and it's one of the most significant. The Sarke, the Gza, he Tbiliselebi and the Rating are alike as twins. They offer the readers nothing different. Accordingly they do not take up a new niche on the market, even on the small one, they snatch "bites" from each other.
To avoid the generality of this statement let's look through the editions of the previous week. Let's start with the cover. All colors, only people and numerous headlines, many people and many headlines - that's the way they look. Normally a human cannot simultaneously perceive over three irritators, and these editions contain almost the whole of the content. Let's count.
The Sarke magazine cover features the photos of 11 people and 11 headlines, 4 more people and 4 headlines on the inner side, 3 people and 3 headlines on the third page, 2 people and 3 headlines on the back cover. The Tbiliselebi front cover offers 13 people and 11 headlines, one person and one headline on the back cover. The Gza magazine features 10 people and 9 headlines, and the Rating offers 6 people and 7 headlines.
The second feature common to all of t the aforementioned editions is the multitude of interviews. The Tbiliselebi has 44 interviews published while the Rating, the Sarke and the Gza offer readers 24, 22 and 15 interviews respectively. The respondents include public figures ("stars", politicians, experts, scientists, writers, doctors, preachers and new faces) as well as ordinary individuals (sunflower seeds sellers, family members of socially unprotected people, students, school children and so forth).
Georgia is a small country, we don't have many public figures and quite often one can simultaneously come across the same person in different editions. In this regard the editions such as the Gza and the Rating by the Palitra Media publishing house are highly interesting. Both editions offer interviews with the singer Eka Kvaliashvili and Miss Bikini Tako Shubitidze. All of the four interviews are given in an independent form through different questions (but the interview with Eka Kvaliashvili is obtained by the same author and the photos are the same).
A part of the interviews with foreign celebs are of course offered by the editions translated but local interviews revive keener interest. Some of them cover the issues that would be preferable to be offered as an article. For instance, the Tbiliselebi interview with the historian Vazha Kiknadze telling us why the Mother-Queen considered Nestan-Darejan's marriage to Aragvi Duke Zurab as unequal. One might have an impression these editions find it easy to make interviews - turning on, recording, deciphering and that's it. While any professional would argue that making a good interview is one of the hardest tasks.
All four editions are evidently eager for the same - to have as many readers' interest satisfied as possible. In terms of marketing it' comprehensible but in reality it looks comic. For instance the Sarke underlines how religious it is but the last pages of the magazine feature the Geoline erotic photos. The Tbiliselebi, like the Srake trying to convince the readers of its religiosity offers interviews with preachers but unlike the Sarke pampers horoscope lovers at the same time.
In the monitored editions the Tbiliselebi and the Sarke as well as the Gza and the Rating have published general review of current news, interesting stories about people and events around the world, the stories of world stars, have special pages dedicated to medicine, children (except the Gza and the Rating), cooking recipes, tests, crosswords, anecdotes, love stories, the stories provided by readers, a photo to be named, announcements, numerous novels to be continues in the following editions, Georgian as well as foreign TV and radio programs, playbills...
The latter similar to the cooking recipes are offered in the Rating magazine in a special form. "A tasty insert" is removable. It is also noteworthy that the Rating and the Sarke whose editors are females focus on traditional womanish issues (couples, rumors, cuisine and so forth) while the Gza and the Tbiliselebi whose editors are men follow traditionally mannish interests (history, heroes, sport and so on). These topics are publicly considered as the spheres of interest for men and women. Its correctness is another topic to be discussed.
The most eye-catching is the low printing quality of editions and the photos therein but for the price the readers pay no complaints can be accepted. Both parties - publishers as well as readers once agreed on the rules of the game and automatically further follow it. Until when? We are going to witness it together unless "Georgian twins" present themselves any "creative gift."