iMoney weekly rides stock wave in quest for advertising revenue

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2007, 12:00am
 

With the stock market surging, the city's media companies are set to provide more reading fodder on everyone's favourite topic: money.

Hong Kong Economic Times Group, publisher of the Chinese-language newspaper of the same name, will launch a business news weekly later this month.

Like other business titles in the city, the Economic Times is seeking new income streams after the mandatory publishing of company financial statements ended, hitting revenue.

Nielsen Media says the newspaper's advertising revenue fell 15 per cent month on month to HK$164 million in July after the stock exchange implemented the rule at the end of June.

The magazine, to be called iMoney, is scheduled to hit the streets on October 27. It will have two sections, the first focusing on the stock market and mainland business news, and the second taking a softer approach with features, personal profiles and lifestyle articles.

It joins a weekend magazine market where Ming Pao Weekly, from One Media Group, and Economic Digest, an investment weekly owned by Emperor Group, also compete.

The first issue will be free with copies of the Economic Times but will have a normal price of HK$20.

Newspapers are putting more resources into financial news amid the hot stock market. The Hong Kong Economic Journal has a new shareholder backed by a fund in which PCCW chairman Richard Li Tzar-kai is involved.

Meanwhile, the mass-circulation Hong Kong Daily News is considering changing to a business format.

With a print run of 80,000 copies, iMoney's 'management seems very confident as it is an aggressive target,' a media agent said.

'The new magazine should have the room to survive as there are not so many similar titles to compete with,' said Pauline Chu, vice-president of Carat Media Services Hong Kong. 'The track record of the group also gives confidence to advertisers.'

Media agents said the new weekly did not have a standard rate card but would sell advertising on a package basis. The average advertising rate per page is HK$20,000, more than double entertainment weeklies' rate of below HK$10,000.

Bracing for Murdoch entry

International newspapers are becoming less enthusiastic about subscription-driven websites as they prepare to compete with Rupert Murdoch's newly acquired Wall Street Journal.

The Financial Times is opening up its FT.com website, allowing limited free access while maintaining a subscription model.

The new model will allow users free access to 30 stories per month. If users want to read more, they can subscribe to a monthly plan.

'Other publishers have been caught in a stark choice between free and paid. We are offering a third option, in which you pay only if you want more than 30 articles per month,' said Ien Cheng, publisher and managing editor of FT.com.

Last month, the New York Times announced it would provide free access to its site. The 'grey lady's' website has about 13 million unique visitors each month, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings.

Both newspapers' moves have been interpreted as an attempt to meet the challenge of Mr Murdoch's acquisition of Dow Jones & Company.

Mr Murdoch has indicated his willingness to open Wall Street Journal's website for free to make it the No1 news portal in US. The website is one of the most successful subscription-based news portals with 983,000 paid subscribers in June.

'Murdoch wants [the Journal] to be the top site in the US market,' an industry source told Media Eye.

PCCW dishes out TV dinners

PCCW's Now TV launched a 'dial-a-dinner' service recently, which allows subscribers to order food through their remote-control gadgets.

It works with more than 30 restaurants, including Japanese, Italian and Chinese establishments.

Now you only need to get up from the couch to answer the door and pay the delivery guy.

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