Emperor media unit turns new page in IPO bid

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2008, 12:00am

Emperor Group, the privately owned investment flagship of Albert Yeung Sau-shing, will list its magazine business on the main board as early as next month.

But demand from investors for the offering may be blunted by growing competition in the crowded Chinese-language magazine market.

Market sources said New Media Group would start marketing the offer to potential investors later this month. The size of the offering has yet to be determined.

It will be the second listed media firm from the Emperor Group after the successful offering of Emperor Entertainment Group on the Growth Enterprise Market in 2000.

Market watchers said New Media's titles faced tough competition from those owned by rivals Next Media and Sing Tao News Corp, with limited revenue growth forecast in the local market.

New Media publishes magazines covering everything from gossip to stock tips in Hong Kong, with titles including Oriental Sunday, New Monday, Weekend Weekly, Economic Digest, and Fashion and Beauty Weekly.

Women's gossip weekly Oriental Sunday, with a circulation of more than 120,000 copies a week, is the best-selling title in the group. However, it goes head to head with Next Media's Sudden Weekly, which sells 190,000 to 200,000 copies.

According to media monitor admanGo, Oriental Sunday earned HK$957 million in gross advertising revenue (before discounts and rebates to advertisers) last year, representing a 28 per cent growth over the previous year.

Meanwhile, Economic Digest, a stock-tipping guide, does battle with iMoney weekly, a new title launched by the Hong Kong Economic Times Group. Economic Digest has a weekly circulation of more than 60,000 copies and, according to admanGo, gross advertising revenue grew 21 per cent year on year to HK$121 million.

'New Media Group is a strong player as their titles focus on women and white-collar readers,' an industry watcher told Media Eye. But the smaller titles in the group do not command the advertising big bucks. Tsang Kam-keung, chief executive of media agent Group M Hong Kong, said the average advertising rate per page for magazines with a weekly circulation below 100,000 could be less than HK$10,000 while better-selling titles commanded more than HK$10,000 per page.

Video advertising gets a lift

'Outdoor' video advertising in the city attracted almost HK$1 billion in the first 11 months of last year, with liquid-crystal displays in lift lobbies proving to be particularly popular.

Nielsen Media Research said total outdoor media advertising reached HK$2.75 billion at the end of November, accounting for 6 per cent of total advertising spending of HK$47 billion. Video advertising accounted for 36 per cent.

Al Jazeera's fearless i-Cable link

I-Cable Communications will start carrying the Al Jazeera English television channel from today.

I-Cable said: 'Al Jazeera set the global news agenda with fearlessly objective, impartial and independent journalism. Al Jazeera English's dedicated page on YouTube is home to the website's most watched news channel.'