Mediaweek Asia: Weekly Roundup

Peter Olszewski rounds up Asia’s media news for the week in our Mediaweek Asia column

By Peter Olszewski

New owner Nikkei wants FT to be digital powerhouse

Nikkei will use its US$1.3 billion purchase of the Financial Times to create a digital media powerhouse through use of the newspaper’s brand and skill in getting subscribers to pay for premium business news, its chairman said according to Reuters.

Nikkei Chairman Tsuneo Kita also told Reuters he would guarantee the Financial Times’ independence by giving his word about not meddling.

“Our management objectives at Nikkei are global and digital, those are the two key words. And so for the future, in order to grow as global media and to further promote our digital media business, the best partner is definitely the FT,” Kita said.

 Singapore Press group reports profit down

The chairman of Singapore Press Holdings, Dr Lee Boon Yang, told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting that – in the face of a volatile market, a slowing economy and an increasingly competitive media landscape – the group managed “a creditable performance” in the financial year 2014/2015 with a net profit of S$321.7 million (A$311.8 million). 

This is a 20.4% decrease compared to the last financial year, while group recurring earnings of  $353.5 million was higher by $4.5 million compared to last year.

Revenue from the media business was $902.5 million, $60.9 million or 6.3% lower than last year, due to declines in advertising and circulation.

Nippon TV sets up in Singapore

Japan’s Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) has established a subsidiary in Singapore called NTV Asia Pacific and will provide 100% of the capital contribution of US$1 million, with $100,000 available now. Capital will be increased in the future.

Nippon TV’s current manager of international business development, Hidetushi Hiramatsu, will assume a new role with the new subsidiary this month.

Nippon TV established a joint venture company with Sony Pictures TV Network in May this year, and in October launched a new channel called GEM in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

In its press release, Nippon TV said its goal is to be “the leading media content company in Asia”.

Indonesian radio broadcaster to list

Mahaka Radio Integra will offer up to 30% of enlarged capital through an initial public offering on 17-18 December, followed by listing on the Indonesian Stock Exchange on 28 December. 

A recent prospectus reveals that the company, owned by tycoon and media mogul Erick Thohir, would offer 171.4 million unit shares in the IPO, which consists of 114 million new shares and divestment of 57.1 million shares of one shareholder PT Fajar Mentari.

Mahaka Radio Integra is a subsidiary of the publicly listed media group PT Mahaka Media Tbk, and is the operator of two radio stations, Gen FM and Jak FM broadcasting in Jakarta and Surabaya.

Another Myanmar newspaper closes

Yet another Myanmar newspaper, Messenger Media, shut down on Tuesday stating the obvious reason – “financial crisis”.

The paper owned by Zaw Min Aye, the son of the chair of the Union Election Commission, Tin Aye,launched three years ago as a free sheet, and a year ago begin charging a K100 (about 10 cents) cover price.

Managing editor Ko Thura Aung told the Myanmar Times, “It’s very difficult to publish continuously because we lost whenever the circulation rose. We were losing money with each copy we sold.”

France’s Euronews to broadcast in Japan

French multilingual news media outfit, Euronews, will launch its first service in Japan in December by teaming with NTT Plala, which operates the Internet-based Hikari TV delivery service.

Hikari TV users will be able to view Euronews programs in English and French but they will not be subtitled or dubbed in Japanese. 

Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews told Kyodo News that in the wake of the Paris attacks, it was perhaps “the best time” for Euronews to start its service, as Japanese audiences would want to know “how things are happening in Europe and how things are reported in Europe”.

Nielsen to get new competitor in Thailand

Thailand’s long-time ratings provider Nielsen Thailand will now face competition from a newly created audience-measurement service for television and other platforms.

The new TV rating service will be managed by the Media Research Development Association and its members comprise 20 terrestrial-based digital TV channel operators, 41 cable and satellite TV operators and 25 media agencies.

The newly appointed president of the TV rating service, Subhab Kleekachai, said the Thai industry needed changes in the national TV rating system after the introduction of 24 new digital TV channels.

The new association would sign an agreement with UK-based Kantar Media on 16 December to set up the new TV rating service. 

Data will be collected from a larger sample size of 3,000 households as opposed to the 2,200 households sampled by Nielsen. New data should be ready for use in 2017. 


Manchester United this week announced a multi-year partnership with one of Indonesia’s fastest growing soccer media companies, SuperSoccer. SuperSoccer will exclusively air Manchester United’s dedicated 24-hour TV channel MUTV to the club’s 55 million Indonesian followers via DensTV and Nexmedia.

Hot on the heels of news that the International New York Times was scrapping printing its Thai edition comes news that its printer in Thailand removed an article on Tuesday about the moribund state of the kingdom’s economy. This resulted in the edition carrying blank spaces including on the cover, and was the second such incident in the last ten weeks.

Burpple, a Singapore and Kuala Lumpur-focused mobile restaurant guide app and website, has announced a round of funding of A$8.2 million from three new investors – SPH Media Fund, Tembusu partners and Triumph Capital.

The CEO and publisher of The Edge news group, Ho Kay Tat, has been named Malaysia’s Media Person of the Year. The award is now in its eleventh year and is part of the Malaysian Media Conference, organised by Marketing Magazine.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s aunt is planning to sue three high-profile North Korean defectors for defamation. The aunt, Koh Young-sook, is seeking 60 million won (A$71,000) from three defectors for allegedly spreading false information about her on South Korean TV shows between 2013 and 2014. The defendants are a former North Korean agent, a son-in-law of a former North Korean prime minister and an ex-diplomat.

Cambodian TV news anchor Soy Sopheap is acting as a peacemaker in the bitter feud between Prime Minister Hun Sen and exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy. The wealthy 44-year Soy Sopheap is an anchor at Bayon TV, run by Hun Sen’s daughter Hun Mana, and he also publishes the Deum Ampil newspaper.

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