Week in Review: The rise of digital-only publications

  • Malaysian companies have launched digital-only mags with a regional target
  • This and other developments may make Malaysia the Asian heart for digital media

Week in Review: The rise of digital-only publicationsA FEW weeks ago I highlighted KiniBiz, the business portal that Malaysiakini had launched with P. Gunasegaram and shared my belief that Malaysia has one of the most interesting digital media markets in the region.
And now, we welcome The Edge Review, a weekly regional current affairs magazine launched by The Edge Media Group. Like KiniBiz, the Review is also helmed by a seasoned and highly respected business journalist, Leslie Lopez. It is not known if Lopez has a stake in the Review, though I would not be surprised if he did.
Is there still space for a regional business publication? This question was posed to me by the executive editor of a print media outlet, who called me to get my take on the chances of The Edge Review succeeding.
I launched into a 10-minute monologue of why I thought it would. My confidence was based on the fact that the digital-only regional current affairs magazine was tapping into the changing reading habits of senior executives – who have taken to reading content digitally like ducks to water, especially on their tablets.

[Disclosure: The writer was with The Edge from 1995 to 2012, when he left to found Digital News Asia]. 
After all, many of us now carry our tablets with us, like we would our smartphones. And because we now consume our content in snack sizes, meaning in pockets of down-time, the mobility and larger screen size of tablets is key to a great user experience.
That is why smartphone screens are getting larger too. Four-inch screens will soon be standard.
Download speeds matter too, when it comes to the user experience. Which is why, by the end of this year, IDC estimates that 21% of smartphones on offer in Malaysia will come with LTE or Long Term Evolution, which promises downloads speeds that average between 10Mbps and 30Mbps.
This just goes to show that Malaysia not only has one of the most exciting digital media markets in the region, but also one of the most exciting mobile markets. And into that market now comes Enabling Asia Tech, with its Mobile Virtual Network Aggregator (MVNA) model.
I am not surprised if you are scratching your heads over this new telco acronym. Simply put, Enabling Asia aims to make it easy and fast for any brand that has a decent customer base to roll out its own mobile service. The idea is that this becomes a form of loyalty and rewards service for the customers of the brand.
But Enabling Asia itself is interesting because it is entrepreneur-led and -funded. It is taking a bold risk in believing the Malaysian market is ready for this model, but it is not stopping here. As its name hints at, it plans to roll out throughout Asia. Now that’s bold.
Looking at Asia is what KiniBiz is doing, as are The Edge Review and even we at Digital News Asia. If we all succeed, Malaysia will truly have a case for calling itself the Asian heart for digital media.
Previous Installments:
Week in Review: The certainty of taxes
Week in Review: Phison founder determined to make his mark here

Week in Review: A once hot start-up fights to stay relevant

Week in Review: Fueling the dreams of start-ups

Week in Review: Penang no longer just about MNCs
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