Digital, international growth are the way forward as South China Morning Post weathers shifting media landscape

November 6, 2018
SCMP Updates
The newspaper, founded in Hong Kong in 1903, is now read more by Americans, other international readers curious to learn about China.

Right from its inception in 1903, South China Morning Post has been serving a truly international audience.

Even before it had its own printing press, the paper was the proud owner of a steam launch from which it used to sell print copies directly to ships in Victoria Harbour – cover price HK$3 a month – and thus it began life delivering news to visiting seamen and passengers from around the globe.

More than a century on, the Post is now more widely read digitally than it is in print and its largest audience is Americans, rather than Hong Kong residents.

Instead of news dominated by shipping, the newspaper acquired by the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in 2016 is focused on providing the world a window into ever-growing China.

The growing importance of building a digital readership mirrors an ongoing trend in the newspaper industry globally where print circulations decline and the rise of less expensive online advertisements have cut into media company profits.

Today, of course, rather than ships bobbing in the harbour, news is being read on mobile phones, tablets and laptops, and the Post has refocused its operations towards a digital-first strategy.

“The aspiration of being a newspaper of international relevance is not new to the Post, but the reality or the possibility or the opportunity of truly having a foothold all over the world can be realised because of the internet, because of digital distribution”, said Gary Liu, the Post’s chief executive.

The newspaper industry has been hit particularly hard as readers’ habits and tastes have changed.

Paid classified advertising, once the mainstay of many local news titles, has all but disappeared, replaced by free online ads for jobs, flats and used vehicles.

At its peak, the Classified Post, a weekly supplement in the Post, ran to more than 200 pages. A recent edition was 16 pages.

In the US, newspaper circulation has declined by nearly half in the past quarter century, according to the Pew Research Center, with an estimated daily circulation of just 30.9 million in 2017. At the same time, advertising revenue at US newspapers fell by 64 per cent in the past decade to an estimated US$16.5 billion in 2017, according to Pew.

And the rest of the world has not been spared. Globally, print advertising revenue declined 23 per cent between 2013 and 2017, according to the PwC Global Media Outlook for 2018 to 2022. Continue Reading 

About South China Morning Post 

South China Morning Post is a leading global news company that has reported on China and Asia for more than a century. Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, where it is the city’s newspaper of record, with a growing correspondent staff across Asia and the United States.Its editorial teams are powered by emerging digital technologies to create innovative ways to tell Asia’s most important and compelling stories.

Against the backdrop of shifting discovery and consumption behaviours, SCMP reaches users across distributed media platforms including, smartphone and tablet apps, social media and messaging platforms, as well as our flagship newspaper.  SCMP is also home to Abacus, a digital news brand focused on China's tech industry; Inkstone, a daily news brief for those curious about China's growing impact around the world; and Goldthread, a content platform with a focus on food, travel and culture in China.

About Morning Studio 

Morning Studio is a dedicated branded content team at SCMP that is leading the evolution of marketing in the region by more strategically connecting advertisers with readers through enhanced content solutions offerings. Morning Studio combines world class branding strategists, multimedia designers, and audio/video producers with editorial experts who have a deep understanding of SCMP’s readers. Crafted with SCMP’s high editorial standards, branded content is presented with the unique voice of the particular SCMP platform on which it is featured, whether, Abacus, Inkstone or Goldthread. Morning Studio’s online content can be complemented by integrated offline offerings such as sponsored supplements, bespoke publications and customised events.

For further information, please contact us