Media group Shifang to boost mainland interests
Media group Shifang Holding said it would continue expanding co-operation with newspapers in the second and third-tier cities on the mainland, believing the price of advertising in print in these cities would maintain double-digit growth this year.
The company also hoped government pressure to make formerly government-supported and wholly owned media fend for themselves would create opportunities for private players like Shifang to take stakes in mainland media groups.
Shifang provides editorial content mainly for newspaper clients and some online clients.
Chairman and chief executive Chen Zhi said Shifang would spend up to 200 million yuan (HK$237 million) acquiring shares of media companies, although this was not set in stone. 'It depends on whether the reforms are implemented smoothly,' he said.
Nearly 80 per cent of the company's revenue came from newspaper advertising and 12 per cent from online services. Chen said. 'This year, the proportion of digital media's contribution will increase, but newspapers will still dominate,' Chen said.
Chen said advertising in print would still grow in the next five to 10 years in second and third-tier cities where internet coverage could not satisfy local readers' needs.
Shifang bills itself as a one-stop media shop through a network of 11 newspapers in 16 cities, spanning eight provinces.
The company would add three more papers into its partnership portfolio this year, Chen said.
It would also strengthen its online digital advertising platform and expand into TV and radio.
It entered the radio business in January, becoming the sole agent authorised to sell customised radio programmes of China National Radio to local radio stations.
Shifang was listed in Hong Kong in December last year, with net proceeds of 402 million yuan.
Last year, the company's revenue was 530 million yuan and net profit topped 160 million yuan.