Korean publishers chart digital evolution at FIPP conference

Day two of the 3rd FIPP Asia-Pacific Digital Magazine Media Conference (21 September) began with a showcase of some of Korea’s best digital magazines.

Chang-Eui Lee (pictured), president of the Korea Magazine Association and CEO of Chosun magazine, Korea, opened the session by introducing Chosun magazine, which was established in 2003. Lee described the difficulties the company (and industry) faced before the launch of Samsung galaxy Tab and the iPad. Before this, Korean publishers found the screen size of smart phones limiting, as they were not able to add as much content as they would have liked to, and therefore the products were not “sophisticated enough” to attract readers. Of course, in 2011, everything changed.

The second case study in this session came from In-Won Cho, CEO, j contentree, Korea, who introduced Ceci magazine. He talked about the role of the editor changing, a role that now involves making and editing videos for the tablet edition of the magazine. Ceci’s strategy is an interesting one, because the monthly print magazine’s content is used to produce two bi-weekly tablet editions. These tablet editions are enhanced, and completely redesigned for the platform – even if the content is similar. However, these huge changes have not come without difficulties. Cho spoke of the difficulty the company has pricing these digital editions, and suggested this is a problem that the whole magazine media industry in Korea faces. Although many Korean tablet editions of magazines are free, he said, research shows that these magazines are not read. However, if a tablet magazine is paid for, research shows that this edition will be read three times. Clearly, this is more desirable to advertisers. “If both the print and digital editions are paid for”, said Cho, “we may see the market shift, but the revenue will balance out. We all need to collaborate and make this business model work.”

Finally, Eunryoung Kim, editorial director and editor-in-chief, luxuary, Design House, Korea, spoke about the need for the company’s luxuary brands to provide a rich experience to the user on tablets. This involves making content interactive, repackaging the print edition and offering more to the reader. “You should engage in a two-way conversation with your readers”, said Kim, who suggested that readers are now the editors, because they are selecting, creating and sharing content from the brands

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