Asian Digital Leaders Share Strategies

Leading Asian publishers ended a three-day examination of online, mobile, tablet and social media on Friday, with part of their deliberations looking at content strategies. But the real focus was on how to profit from all their good content.

Digital news delivery is developing rapidly, but revenues are not keeping pace. Strategies that produce significant revenues from digital content are the holy grail of publishers everywhere, and was much in evidence at Digital Media Asia, which concluded in Hong Kong on Friday.

More than 300 publishers from 30 countries gathered at the event, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), in an annual meeting designed to showcase digital publishing innovations.

More people are accessing websites via mobile than ever before, so redirecting them to mobile-optimized sites is essential. Visitors won’t stick around if they don’t like the experience, that that will have an impact on revenues – advertisers are interested not only in unique visits and impressions but also on the time visitors spend on sites. Mobile-optimized sites retain traffic and encourage more page views per visit. That’s the lesson from Simon Shepherdson, marketing manager from Aspermont, a business-to-business publisher in Australia.

When it comes to paid-for apps, user feedback and focus group discussions are necessary to find the optimum price to get maximum revenue. Those who rely on apps are “power news” customers who know value and will pay for it. “Readers are willing to pay for apps, something we all missed on the web,” said Mariam Mathew, chief operating officer of Manorama Online in India.

Those who believe people won’t pay for news need to look at Aftonbladet in Sweden, which attracts half of the Swedish internet population and gets nearly half of its advertising reverences from digital media. Sales Director Anders Berglund reckons that online journalism is crucial to boost revenues – but it has to be “fast-live” that reflects what people are really talking about. And the delivery must include social and interactive qualities, deeper content through multimedia and interactivity and constant innovation.

If you want to get the most out of your digital platforms, engage the youngest people in your company in your digital strategy. That’s the advice from Cheryl Goh, head of E Media at the New Straits Times Press in Malaysia. The Straits Times’ “Wakalabs” does just that – it is a platform that engages, on a voluntary basis, the youth of New Straits Times and fosters ideas and innovation for products and services targeted at the youth audience. The company’s “Hackweekend” saw 60 young people stay in the office for 30 hours to build 13 new apps. Goh says E Media’s culture and its fun office help improve morale and attract young talent.

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