|More than 500 delegates gathered in Hangzhou, China, on October 14 for the second Asia-Pacific Digital Magazine Conference. Aroon Purie, chairman and editor-in-chief, The India Today Group and FIPP chairman, addressed attendees in a keynote speech and said that the ‘digital disruption' has enabled publishers to expand audiences like never before.
Hosted by the China Periodicals Association (CPA) and in association with FIPP, the event began with a speech by Zhen Jiwei, vice governor of the Zhejiang Province, China, who said that the Chinese publishing industry faces a more challenging environment nowadays with the explosion of digital.
She said that content is the core of digital development in the publishing sector, and is the source of attracting market recognition and building good brands. Readers need high quality experiences and publishers should always give readers the highest priority.
Purie added that he is starting to see more positive feeling about the future of the industry, and this was first experienced at the FIPP/VDZ/eMediasf conference in March held in Berlin, Germany.
On day one of the conference a panel of experts discussed how publishers are coping with 360 publishing strategies.
Liu Xiaokun, vice president, Founder, China, said that the rapid growth of technology over the past decade has been a disruption to the media industry in particular, and this has transformed the way content is provided. He said that there has been a big change in the reading habits of audiences, and many now read content in print, online, mobile and tablets. Xiaokun said that Founder's content production will sway towards more and more digital applications.
Gao Haihao, president, Zhejiang Daily Newspaper Group, China, said that the diversification of communication and segmentation of readers is taking place in China. He said that the company sees new media is fundamentally changing the way people read and the way information is communicated.
Lena Yang, publishing general manager of Hachette Filipacci Media China, spoke about the success of the iPad, saying that people are actually reading on these devices, not just playing games or surfing the internet. She questioned how content providers can seize these opportunities, and answered by saying that the brand is the key. She used Elle as an example, and spoke of the brand's many extensions all over the world.
An expert panel also discussed how they are re-defining themselves in a time of digital change.
Luo Jia, editor-in-chief, Beijing Rayli Magazine House, China, said that publishing companies need to face the challenges ahead and look for solutions, as our readers and advertisers are online and want us to be there as well.
Kenichi Endo, president, NHK Publishing, Japan, said that the change brought about by digital innovation is enormous, and we should not hide from it. He added that the situation has the potential to create a great opportunity for us if we tackle the problem seriously.
Engaging consumers in social media was a topic discussed and Tenki Hartono, chief editor, Ayahbunda, Femina Group, Indonesia, said that the brand has extended to various social networks in order to support it's reader community. The brand's facebook page is very popular among young mothers, according to Hartono, is updated daily by the Ayahbunda editorial team, and has 1,300 interactions per week. The brand also has a community following Twitter, and send out personalised newsletters and is available on the mobile platform.
David Liu, CEO, The Knot, USA, described the way his company works - by focusing on three different stages of life: engagement, wedding and first baby. The company spent a lot of time researching these stages, and have strong communities surrounding each. The company's portfolio includes websites, magazines, books and a TV programme.
Liu said traditional publishers should rethink how their business should work in the digital age, to see whether they can find a community that will follow their brands.
Tetsuya Ohkubo, chairman, Digital Content Promotion Committee, Japan Magazine Publishers Association and director of Shueisha, Japan, kicked-off day two by discussing how the association, JMPA, has responded to the explosion of digital magazines. After holding the 1st FIPP Asia-pacific Digital Magazine Conference in Tokyo, Japan, in 2008, JMPA set up a Digital Content Promotion Committee, chaired by Ohkubo. Its aim is to build a common infrastructure or standard of digital magazine delivery, and spread awareness that digital adds something to traditional magazines.
In the second session of the day, Wang Rong Wen, president, Yuan Liou Publishing Group, Taiwan, explained to the audience that the company decided to create its own e-reader in order to be in complete control of the technology and the content placed on the device. He said that every magazine has core, premium content, and if you can embed this in the heart of your e-reader device and add online content, this is an excellent approach to take.
A panel of speakers from global magazine companies spoke about how they have transitioned their B2B businesses in the digital world.
Huang Xiang, vice president, IDG Communications, China, said that the company is now using more international content for its brands in order to keep local readers up-to-date with the latest happenings. The company has introduces more in-depth reporting but with shorter articles, and has improved the layout and editorial design to attract younger readers. He said that the company puts more emphasis on the quality of audience rather than unique visitors and page views.
Yuko Tanaka, director, Nikkei Business Press, Japan, said that for them, knowing about their readers is essential, so that they can make their content more sophisticated and tailor it to their target market. By knowing more about their readers, they can then offer high-level marketing solutions to advertisers.
Nikkei BP started selling digital content in 2000, and now has a database of its magazine content in digital format. It plans to introduce its own digital content storefront and apps to read on e-reading devices. Tanaka stressed that the digital magazines offered by the storefront will not be exact replicas, but will include more rich content, for example video.
Didier Guerin, president and CEO, Media Convergence Asia-Pacific, Australia, moderated a panel of international magazine publisher executives today at the 2nd Digital Conference in Hangzhou, China today (15 October).
Thomas D. Gorman, chairman and editor-in-chief, Fortune China, CCI Asia, spoke about being the licensee of Fortune China, and how the company didn't launch fortunechina.com as a profit centre initially, but it has now become this, generating lots of revenue, which is all advertising driven. Gorman said that the company does not see paid content to be promising at the moment.
Edward Marr, licensing manager, Asia, Haymarket Media Group focused on the What Car? brand, as he said each of the brands the company owns has a different online strategy depending on the user demand. WhatCar.com makes money from online classified and banner advertising, and the brand also uses Google Ad Sense. This is from a company that 15 years ago, didn't have a website, and now half of its revenues are derived from online - 50 per cent.
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