Australian Media/Publishing Industry: The Need for Brand Content to Succeed

The Australian Media/Publishing industry is now almost towards the end of the transitioning to from print to digital and mobile, and consolidating their media presence online in reaction to their audiences. Although there is a large increase in ad spend, the justification of increasing ad spend is also increasing, which also comes from the need to demonstrate ROI.

PR Newswire have the pleasure to talk to Mr. Vahe Arabian, founder of State of Digital Publishing (SODP).  He will be giving PR Newswire’s readers some insights on branded content.

In a recent finding from the Interactive Adverting Bureau ( IAB) , almost 30% of Australians using are Adblockers when browsing online (however 70% of people have been asked to turn off ad blockers from their browsers). Branded content (non-paid advertising) content is now being called upon to deliver the means to better engage and monetize (with profitable margins) reader relationships across owned media properties.

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Does it mean advertising is a broken model and branded content hasn’t yet reached its potential?

The Global Business of Branded Report (which also includes Australia) from Polar Bear suggests that publishers are looking towards creating branded content, due to increasing costs of online & social advertising, narrowing profit margins, the complexities of different pricing models and because it does not work as effectively as it used to.

Whilst the nature of content has reached to a point in becoming commoditized, particularly in Australia, there are publishers out there still pursuing experimental branded content initiatives, as a result of the low renewal subscriber rates (40 percent of publishers cited less than 50 percent renewal rates as cited by the same report).

There is also another key challenge in finding the best method of selling branded content as a product, which is still an untapped opportunity for digital publishers to brands and their prospective customers.

What challenges are Australian Digital Publishers up to?

In a recent digital publishing trends piece, contributors from SODP have mentioned about the key things to focus and what they need to focus in order to better connect with their audience in the coming year.

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David Hovenden, Editor-in-Chief, B & T, CEO The Misfits

“To connect with our audiences in 2017 the Misfits Media Company will be zeroing in on causes our audience care deeply about. If you accept attention is fleeting, you need to be contextually relevant to get more than your fair share. So by linking into causes your audience is passionate about and actually doing something to advance them, you’re far more likely to retain and grow your audience. For us, that means gender equality and inclusion.”
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Jeremy Cabral, Head of Publishing & Editorial

We are working to get better at establishing where our customers are in their buying journey and delivering more relevant and helpful tools and content to make decision making easier at each stage for them. Ensuring our content delivers on user intent is always an important focus for our team.”

It is important to commoditize Branded Content and how?

The emphasis looking forward is to package and offer content in ways that would attract a loyal audience base to continually return and consume their content (essentially how magazine was sold offline). The Australian market is still several years behind, particularly as many news publishers try to use paywalls as a method of monetizing content, whilst leading US publications are experimenting with content commerce and hybrid subscription models.

In order to leap forward, three things need to be actualized:

  • The fundamental principle behind creating premium content and doing so on a recurring basis (not necessarily frequent) for reaching new audiences.
  • Syndicating and delivering content through owned media, and promoting it for each platform (beyond the website) by earned media
  • Anchoring and selling content readers using a subscription SAAS model back to the website, in order to continually nurture and maintain relationships is how

 photo Vahe Arabian_zpssvsmwrcp.jpg  Vahe Arabian is the Founder of State of Digital Publishing.  Prior to establishing State of Digital Publishing, Vahe has been with the SEO industry, specializing in research & strategy (content, link building and technical), where he regularly troubleshoots campaigns, formulates new plans and processes in order to help others achieve their goals and spend less time collating data.

State of Digital Publishing looks to help narrow this gap through providing editorial driven practical advice, news and features for digital publishers by digital publishers.

Charmaine Chow is the Media Research Manager at PR Newswire.  For more media related news, follow us at @PRNA4media.                          


What You Need to Know About Presidential Crisis Management


The recent South Korea’s political corruption and presidential scandal which sees the country’s first female president, Park Geun-hye, impeached first started at Ewha Womans University over the scandal of alleged favoritism towards her longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil. However, amidst this political crisis, the Blue House (executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of State) remained silent despite the public’s outcry. After the local TV station JTBC started reporting on the scandal, it aroused the public’s curiosity further and even when the sound of disapproval compounded by the media and public intensified, the Blue House continued to not face the music and failed to demonstrate transparency in providing information and a clear stand of the president’s office. All these wrong decisions have thus led to the impeachment of Park Geun-hye.

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened over Twitter to cancel a Boeing order for a new Air Force One as the deal worth US$4 billion, was way beyond the budget.

The tweet immediately hit the headlines all around the globe, and the total value of Boeing’s shares plunged to US$1.5 billion at the open of trading that day.

The company responded swiftly through PR Newswire within a few hours, clarifying that it was fulfilling a US$170 million initial contract, whose aim was to assess the military aircraft’s capability in accommodating the unique needs of the U.S. president. It hoped to continue working with the U.S. Air Force, to deliver the best presidential planes at the best value of U.S. taxpayers.

The press release published by PR Newswire was placed at the top of Google’s corporate announcement search results on Google News Timeline. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and BBC all cited PR Newswire’s story in their follow-up reports on Boeing’s statement. Boeing’s share price rallied shortly after the press release, and surged over 10 percent in the next three trading days, its market capitalization was on track to hit new an all-time high.

The newsworthiness of such news is obvious. Aside from the reason behind Trump’s tweet on Boeing, the status of the two parties involved in the story is intriguing. One of them is the 45th U.S. President, who is also a billionaire tycoon; and the other is a public corporation. Despite its prominence as one of the Fortune Global 500 corporations, Boeing finds itself at a disadvantage when dealing with the “most powerful man in the world”. As the U.S. President, Trump has tens of millions of followers on Twitter, and whatever he says or does will invariably become the focus of global public opinion.

The incident first broke out in the social media domain, but Boeing did not respond to Trump’s remarks through social media alone. Instead, it released an official press statement to the public through the media at once, so its voice was heard to a maximum extent leveraging the influence of media organizations. The statement is seen as an “accommodating” response by the U.S. media. It is short but effective, neither cringing nor arrogant, which helped Boeing win back the support from the media and public.

This presidential crisis management illustrates one key fact.  No one is doomed to play the underdog when it comes to the all-powerful public opinions, and no media organizations can be absolutely biased or unbiased. For the presidents and the companies alike, when confronted with a PR crisis, the key is to make swift, active and transparent responses, where sincere communication is of critical importance. In doing so, one must pinpoint precisely where the field of public opinions impacted most by the crisis within the shortest time possible. The respond should be well targeted, and hit the bull’s-eye with one shot.

Most breaking news and rumors break out on social media sites such as Twitter, Weibo and WeChat. Whenever a breaking news or a rumor becomes a hotspot in the eyes of the public, the entire information dissemination process is catalyzed by media coverage, interpretation and follow-up reports. During the process, the focus of public opinions gradually shifts from social media to the mass media channels, through which the general public can be directly influenced. This is where the “agenda-setting” function of the media plays a significant role in shaping people’s perception, sentiment, attitude and actions. The mass media is regarded as a more authoritative source of information than social media, and more powerful in terms of diffusing information among people.

With a closer look, we realize that whenever a newsworthy event or news occurs, most people use online search engines to find out what actually happened. This means that social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Weibo or WeChat – the original source of the news – now becomes a closed field of opinions, relative to search engines and the mass media, as official voices can be easily distorted or drowned out by rumors and other noises on social media sites.

How should a company respond to a PR crisis? There is no easy answer to the question – that is for sure, but neither is it extremely complicated. Speed of response, attitude and sincerity are the factors that matter the most in crisis management. Secondly, selection of the communication channels through which the company responds to the crisis is also very important. Social media may not be a suitable channel for crisis management. The key is to pinpoint precisely where the field of public opinions impacted most by the crisis, and engage relevant parties in constructive dialogues as soon as possible.

You never know when the next crisis comes. If, unfortunately, you get involved in a PR crisis, never attempt to deceive or mislead the general public. As proved in numerous cases, good luck will be on your side as long as you respond actively and face up to the consequences with a strong sense of responsibility. It always works, even if you are confronted by the president!

How should a company respond to crisis communications? Download our latest Hong Kong Media Coffee and Singapore Media Coffee videos where we invited veteran journalists, media professionals and public relations consultants to share their knowledge and expertise.

This blog post was originally written in Chinese by Lynn Liu, Senior Manager of Audience Development and Distribution Services based in Beijing. The original Chinese blog post can be viewed here.


MIX MARCOMM is Indonesia’s leading marketing communications magazine, published by SWA Media Inc. The magazine is popular among marketing professionals, entrepreneurs as well as students.With a diverse range of readers, MIX MARCOMM’S business continues to flourish in this digital age as it is committed to serving its community of readers.

I recently met up with Lis Hendriani, Vice Editor-in-Chief of MIX MARCOMM to discuss how the digital media has an impact on the print magazine business and how  to take advantage of a strong community of readers.




Many print magazine publications have ceased their operations in the last two years. Is it the end of the print magazine era and the rise of digital media? 

As we can see from the downward trend of print ad expenditure in the last 5 years, it is inevitable to say that that the print magazine business is dwindling. However, the newspaper industry is still going strong as the ad revenue is quite stable. On the other hand, the digital media is doing relatively well as the digital ad spend increases by 20% per year on average.  Even though the value is small as compared to print ad spend, the growth of print ad expenditure has not increased by more than 5% (USD 11 billion). In the U.S., the digital ad spend accounts for 30% out of the total ad spend. The next question is, how can we reach that kind of growth in Indonesia in the coming years?

Does the rise of the digital media have any impact on MIX MARCOMM’S business?

Based on our print ad revenue, our magazine business is quite stable. The ratio of our print and digital (on ads is 7:3. I think it’s a healthy proportion as it means that we have loyal readers and advertisers. I think it is also helps that our readers, who are from the marketing, advertising, public relations and investor relations fields, are decision makers in print ads.

Despite the rise of digital media where information can be read online, some information may come from unreliable sources. People still view our magazine as a trusted source of marketing news as we pride ourselves in providing reliable and credible information with strict editorial procedure. As a result, we have set industry benchmarks for cover stories and industry awards such as “The Best Advertising Agencies” and “PR Agency of the Year”.

Besides good editorial content, we also try to build a strong community with our readers through our Marketing Club by organizing monthly gatherings, courses and awards events. Our business is also supported by a community of readers. Currently we have more than 6,000 registered members.

Does serving a community of readers a way for magazine publications to survive in this digital age?

Print magazine publications must change their business model. In the recent years, many of them have switched gears and reemerged as community media, where they serve a community of readers. Take Tabloid Nova, a lifestyle tabloid magazine, as an example. Nova has arguably become one of the more popular magazines under Kompas Gramedia Group of Magazine, Indonesia’s media company. This is because they have been engaging their readers based on their interests. Their target audience is mainly mothers from the middle class.

Author:  Afif Maulana is the Audience Development Executive of PR Newswire based in Indonesia. 

5 Key Facts about the Media Landscape in Korea

What do you know about the media landscape in Korea? Regardless of your advanced concepts, it’s changing tremendously. As South Korea is a world leader in Internet connectivity, it boasts one of the fastest average connection speeds. To put this into perspective, digital media and mobile devices are the major factors of change for the media environment. The influence of web portals for the news environment is growing tremendously. Social media is becoming a critical pathway for finding, sharing and reading news.

Here are the latest key aspects of the media landscape in Korea. This blog post would be useful and helpful for you to grasp the media environment in Korea.

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[Slideshare] 15 Best Storytelling Visuals of 2016 : Kick-start the new year with a killer press release

We are all visual creatures. When we are presented with large chunks of
information, we need visuals to help us process and remember the content. When press releases with visuals are distributed to the media, the number of views is 1.4 times more than text-only releases, and video releases receive 2.8 times more views.

Hence it is important for PR and corporate communications professionals to have a mix of multimedia assets in their releases to maximise the chances of their releases getting picked up by the media.

Ranging from anniversaries to festivals and corporate acquisitions, let us share with you how brands made use of multimedia assets including videos and infographics to capture the short attention span of their audiences in the digital world of 2016.

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