As the economy grows, the overall media scene in Myanmar is growing by leaps and bounds.
Dailies and Journals at a Typical Newspapers Kiosk along the Myanmar Streets
From my last heard, there are at least 25 newspapers in Myanmar and depending on if they are government newspapers, private or even club newspapers, different content and advertising can be published within. It would be worth the efforts to meander through all these different factors if both readership and circulation are high. Out-of-Home advertising is still key to reach out in high density Asian countries especially with high fragmentation and no clear leaders in other media.
A recent New York Times article spelt out the reality of newspapers in our digital era even in one of the newest emergent countries in the world:
Publishers suffering from lack of advertising and competition from Internet
27 NOVEMBER 2013
YANGON — Myanmar’s journalists celebrated this year when the government lifted a five-decade ban on private newspapers.
But six months after a dozen dailies rushed into production, journalists who had withstood the wrath and cruelty of a military dictatorship are struggling against something much more mundane: Market forces.
Despite expectations of pent-up demand, publishers say they are suffering from a lack of advertising and competition from the Internet.
“Every publisher is bleeding,” said Mr U Sonny Swe, Chief Executive of the Mizzima Media Group, which publishes a daily. “You have to be ready to fight. And ready to lose.”
Three of the 12 dailies introduced this year have already shut down, and none of the remaining nine are reporting profits, publishers say.
Some of the challenges facing Myanmar’s new dailies are the same as those that have confronted the news business globally for years, like declining readership for print publications.
But Myanmar’s new dailies are also operating in an impoverished country where the legacy of military rule is pervasive. The private dailies are competing with state-run newspapers that were the mouthpieces of the junta and remain in business.
Distribution in big cities is still unreliable for private papers, especially during the rainy season, and it is nearly nonexistent in the countryside. And a typical cover price of 20 cents (S$0.25) a copy for the private papers is too high for many readers, publishers say. State-run publications sell for a fraction of that.
Ms Daw Nyein Nyein Naing, Executive Editor at The 7 Day Daily, one of the new newspapers, said finding good reporters has also been difficult. Her reporters are addicted to Facebook, she said, and often post scoops on their Facebook pages, rather than filing stories to their editors.
She also lamented that many readers appeared to prefer dailies and weeklies that she said ran sensational articles of dubious veracity. “People are not buying quality,” she said.
Smaller newspapers, meanwhile, do not have the kind of financial support that large private daily newspapers enjoy, where they are effectively subsidised by a weekly journal.
Mr U Thiha Saw, a long-time journalist who clashed with censors many times during military rule, runs the country’s only private English-language daily, Myanma Freedom Daily.
“We scrimped and saved and sold our apartment,” he said. “Relatives and friends chipped in.” He is considering courting outside investors but is worried that their money might come with “strings attached”.
Journalists say they face unfair competition from the state-run newspapers, especially because the state publications sell for a fraction of the price and have plentiful advertising — a legacy of military rule when they were the only dailies in the country.
Mr U Kyaw Zwa Moe, Editor of the English edition of the Irrawaddy, a widely-read Internet news site that also publishes a monthly magazine, said the state-run papers are an impediment to the development of a free press in the country.
“In a democratic society, you don’t expect the Ministry of Information to publish newspapers,” he said. “It’s a barrier for the freedom of the press, and for private and independent media groups.”
In the long term, both private and state-run newspapers are likely to find it harder than ever, editors say.
With Internet connections improving and big foreign telecommunications companies poised to install mobile phone networks that could bring tens of millions of people online for the first time, Myanmar is likely to follow the global trend of people looking online for their news.
“Newspapers are so new for this country — that is why everyone is publishing,” said Mr Sonny Swe. “But you don’t want to be in newspapers for 10 years. Our future is in mobile.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES
On an even more exciting note – the 27th South East Asia Games (SEA Games) are upcoming and the countdown to the opening ceremony is going on. It is less than 11 days to the opening ceremony on 11 Dec 2013. The games will be taking place in both Yangon and the capital city – Nyapyitaw.
SEA Games Souvenir Naypyitaw Junction Mall
One of the most watched events would be the FOOTBALL and host country Myanmar has its eyes set on a gold. In fact, as published in the TODAY ONLINE, “Myanmar’s Sports Minister Tint Hsan has also set a target of 100 gold medals for the nation’s more than 1,000 athletes competing across the Games’ 33 sports.”
Temporary SEA Games Billboard Traders Hotel
I am sure Myanmar will do their own country proud as with all other projects that have been going on now. I am looking forward to that!