The Nation newspaper has always been a favorite of many foreigners who visit Thailand regularly and those who live in the kingdom. Its clean broadsheet layout often accompanies a cup of coffee for many foreigners enjoying moments of relaxation particularly in Bangkok and other key urban centres such as Pattaya. Today, those days are virtually gone as the newspaper has been replaced by the smartphone. Prints sales and advertising revenues have plummeted.
Thailand’s Nation newspaper is reported this week to be planning to cease the print edition of the newspaper from the end of June, exactly forty eight years since the English speaking newspaper was first launched in 1971. This week, the CEO of the Nation Multimedia Group, Somchai Meesen, confirmed the reports but promised there would be no job losses among editorial staff as the company focuses on its online services including a proposed new Chinese language Thai news service scheduled for the end of this year.
One of two Bangkok based English language newspapers has announced that it will discontinue its print edition due to plummeting sales and a decline in advertising revenue. The move comes as online media is increasingly taking market share away for the traditional print and broadcast media in Thailand as it is elsewhere in the world.
The Nation currently has a number of publisher agreements with online news outlets
The announcement by the The Nation’s management sees the media group, which launched a TV service in 2000, planning to expand its online platform with a suggested launch of a Chinese speaking online news service sometime later in 2019. The Nation currently also has a number of publisher partnerships with range of media outlets targeting foreigners in Thailand.
Print edition to cease at the end of June
A spokesman for The Nation this week said that it is planning to suspend print publication on June 28th allowing the media group to continue from July 1st as on online only media outlet. The move has not been officially announced yet as a series of consultations and management meeting at the newspaper is currently underway. ‘Finally, we are entering the ‘Last Chapter’ of a 48-year era,’ said the Business Editor of The Nation, Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn, on Facebook said this week.
CEO or Nation Group promises no job losses among editorial staff in print closure
The CEO of the Nation Group, Somchai Meesen, spoke in a TV interview in the last few days. He made it clear that there would be no job losses among the editorial staff of the company. The move will see a renewed concentration on the company’s online offerings. He explained that the inexorable move by both readers and advertisers to online media made the decision an inevitability. The boss of the media group said the it was impossible for the print medium to remain viable in today’s media environment. He said the decline of the print edition began in earnest about 10 years ago.
Today’s Nation’s readers are ‘new generation’ or have lived abroad according to CEO
The Chief Executive explained that, more and more, Nation readers are now ‘new generation’ or have lived abroad. This market now seeks its news online. He said that the print copies of The Nation today were reserved for corporate clients of the groups as well as hospitals and airlines.
Staggering drops in circulation for newspapers worldwide has changed media world
This is part of a worldwide trend in every country where staggering drops are being seen year on year in paid for newspaper circulation. The result has seen circulation networks dry up as the level of sales can no longer support the old fashioned circulation networks such as newsagents, delivery agents, distributors or direct sellers.
The Nation CEO reiterated the firm’s plan to launch a Chinese language online service which he indicated may be up and running by October. This date however is not yet confirmed.
The nation was first published in July 1971
The Nation newspaper was first published in Bangkok in 1971. It has served its English speaking audience well for the last 48 years including many foreigners who visit Thailand and have made the country their home.
The newspaper is seen as more progressive and liberal than its more conservative and traditional English language rival, The Bangkok Post, which way founded in 1946 by an American and a Thai partner. The Nation was born at a time of political struggle in Thailand and has always been seen as quite progressive compared to its more established rival. However, the premiership of Thaksin Shinawatra in 2001 saw the newspaper emerge as one of his fiercest critics ushering in a period where the axis of Thai politics switched.
7 TV Channels hand their broadcast licences back this week as 1,000 jobs to be launched
The ongoing changes to Thailand’s media landscape are not just confined to the print sector. All traditional media are feeling the pinch as a tipping point has been reached in Thailand with advertising spends being diverted to online media.
In the past week, it has also been announced that 7 digital TV channels in Thailand will be handing back their licences to the Thai government in a move which will see the closure of a significant portion of Thailand’s current list of broadcast channels. The reason for this is simply that the current advertising spend for traditional media is limited. The closure of the TV stations will reportedly see 1,000 jobs lost amid rumors that some of the operators plan to launch online offerings on a premium, paid for basis.