Why Astro’s New Mobile Publications Won’t Reach Its Targeted Readership

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In a bid to become the largest content distributor in Malaysia, publishing firm Astro Digital Publications has launched digital, or rather mobile-friendly versions of six of its publications for its subscribers. Subscribers can now download these magazines on their mobile devices free of charge, except for FHM.


Mobile-Friendly Publications in Malaysia

The publications that will have mobile-friendly versions are FHM, Men’s Uno, Style, Car, ifeel and InTrend. They will be available to download on mobile devices from February 10, 2014. About 60 percent of all subscribers of Astro Digital Publications own mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). Existing customers can download all the publications except FHM for free. The e-magazine version of FHM will sell for $0.99. Non-Astro customers can download anyone of each title for $0.99.

According to Sree Pathmanathan, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, if at least two members in every household subscribes to their publications via their mobile devices, the company will be able to increase the number of subscribers to four million. (Note: We at Leaping Post find this to be a wildly ambitious target)

Currently, the company boasts of 3.4 million subscribers. Henry Tan, another COO commented that people love reading magazines but the biggest problem with magazines is that they are heavy, costly and bulky and people need to carry around many titles.

These digital magazines are aimed to make it much easier for people to read their favorite magazines on-the-go. Also, these e-magazines are interactive and updated frequently so they are different from the print versions.

Astro Digital Publications also expects these mobile publications to help increase advertising revenues and to collect subscriber feedback. The company has announced that it wants to learn what its subscribers think about these mobile publications.

Well, I’ve decided to share what I think about them below.


Why Astro’s New Mobile Publications Won’t Reach Its Target Number of Readers

When the tablet computer exploded with popularity, there was huge buzz about the emergence of tablet magazines. However, in reality, these tablet publications have had limited success.


For the near future, I believe these tablet publications’ success will continue to be limited.  Why? Because tablet publications currently have very limited distribution points, which result in them lacking the “prompt” factor.  When we say the ‘prompt’ factor, we’re referring to the act in which an individual reads a magazine or article because it’s brought to their attention. People read tablet publications only when they proactively decide to download and read the publication. This confined access can dramatically limit a publication’s reach. Consider the prompt factors for print magazines and website magazines.

With print magazines, there are several prompt factors.  Consider subscribers of prints magazines; the magazine arrives in a subscriber’s mailbox and the very nature of seeing the publication and holding it can “prompt” the subscriber to read the publication. Furthermore, many print publications have strategic distribution points to prompt readers in those areas.  Think of all the times when you’ve been to a doctor’s office, an airline lounge, a hotel room, a restaurant, or a friend’s house, and you’ve seen a magazine, which you then decided to pick-up to read. That’s the prompt factor.

There are also several prompt factors with website magazines. Think of the times when you’ve searched on Google and then read an article because it showed up in the search results.  Think of the times when you were on Facebook and a friend shared an article, which you then clicked to read.  Consider when you’ve scrolled through the Facebook newsfeed and you saw a story, which you then clicked.   Recall the time you’ve received an e-newsletter in your email box, which prompted you to open the email and click the link to the website’s article. Social media, search engines, and emails are all digital distribution points prompting increased readership.

The print magazines’ strategic physical placements and the website publications’ linked digital distributions points allows them to get more readers than a tablet magazine. Websites and printed magazines have prompt factors, which are hugely important for readership. Until the tablet magazines have access to an infrastructure like this, they will continue to falter.




READ MORE ABOUT: Apps in Malaysia


Photo credit: jfingas / Foter.com / CC BY-ND 


Source: The Star

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Ben Hock Seng

Responsive design is another reason that online media webites can get wider reach than a tablet application. Well designed responsive websites will optimize the reading experience based on the device, whether its a 30″ monitor or a 5″ smartphone. Thus, that medium can be incredibly versatile.

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