Digital magazines appeal to diaspora

Aya Lowe
Digital magazines have a strong international market driven by overseas workers

OVERSEAS MARKET. Digital magazines in Asia are attracting the diaspora market. Photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Digital magazines and media publications in Asia are capturing the overseas Filipino  or OFW market, said publishing officials at the Asia Publishing Convention (APC).

According to Vijay Radhakrishnan, co-founder and president of digital magazine store and newsstand Magzter Inc., 70% of readership of digital magazines in Asia comes from abroad.

“Digital readership is driven by the diaspora of the country,” he said in a briefing on July 11.

ABS-CBN, which currently has 60 e-magazines being sold in iTunes newstands, said that their tablet editions are seeing a very strong international market with buyers coming from over 63 countries.

Mark Yambot, managing director at ABS-CBN Publishing Inc. said their top titles are their entertainment publications.

“Having these tablet editions has increased our market abroad. Locally we’ve seen difference between storefronts. Some do better than others,” said Yambot.

“The most interesting has been value of tablet users. People who use tablets are more likely to subscribe and pay for content,” he added.

Yambot said it’s only been in the past 3 years that tablet computing has become a new revenue stream.

“That was not available before because a lot of the content on the web were free. Consumers will start to pay for content again and we are seeing a rise in people who are willing to pay for content. The market is more transparent. There is not more arbitrage,” said Yambot.

Credit card purchase

However, while international market shows a lot of potential for growth, the local market is still small mostly due to a low credit card penetration.

“We haven’t seen a decline on the print editions, the retail industry is thriving and with more shops that has our stands, we do get a lot of impulse buys and people who are attracted by their topics on the cover,” said Yambot.

According to Remco Koster, managing director of WoodWing Asia Pacific said in other developing companies, to overcome low credit card usage, businesses give vouchers or work with telecommunications companies so customers are still about to purchase digital magazines.

According to research by Nielsen in 2011, tablet computers have seen strong uptake across the region with the exception of Indonesia and Vietnam. Tablet ownership is expected to further increase in the year ahead, in particular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. 

In the Philippines only 17% of digital consumers aged 15+ own a tablet. This penetration is much lower compared to other digital devices: 64% of households own internet capable mobiles, 58% own notbook/laptop/netbooks and 68% own desktop computers.

This figure however changes with household intent to purchase. Around 47% of digital consumers aged 15+ are looking to buy a tablet, compared to 37% who are looking to own a smartphone, 30% who are looking to own a notebook/laptop/netbook and 20% who are looking to buy a desktop. – Rappler.com

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