Monday, February 26, 2007

Kontan, another newspaper

Some of you might have used to Kontan as an economic & business tabloid, it's pretty much like The Edge in Singapore or Malaysia. But today the publisher (subsidiary of Kompas Gramedia Group, the largest print media empire in Indonesia) starts publishing Kontan as a business & economy newspaper as well, to add the currently existed (Bisnis Indonesia, Investor Daily, and Neraca). First of all, congratulations.

In the last few years, several groups have entered the already crowded media business, but big way and could lead to the closure of others. In general newspaper category, Bimantara has published Seputar Indonesia (Sindo) and Sampoerna Family-linked people with Jurnal Nasional. In the English media category, Lippo and Tanri Abeng publish The Globe, while Medco Group with The Point.
According to the latest report from Newspaper Publishers Association, 70% of newspapers are not viable financially and 30% of them are healthy. Even of the 30%, only few publishers that realy make money out of the business. Statistics shown us there are 829 newspapers published in the country with total readership of 7.2 million or 8,685 readers/newspaper. Total revenue (advertisements + paid copies) in 2006 was around Rp13 trillion or Rp15.7 billion average/year/newspaper.
Newspaper penetration rate is 1 to 35, far below Malaysia (1:8). Why? Some blame on purchasing power, but others on quality (that 80% of the contents of national newspapers are about the same).
So, to all my colleagues at Kontan, welcome to the jungle. Readers love competition and it's good for our hearts. Hopefully you guys could give out the best for your readers & the society at large, and improve business journalism in particular! Anyway, it must be tough to keep the weekly tabloid as well.



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