By Silvia Nyambura
Effective March 2015, The CEO Magazine will no longer run their monthly print edition but will instead run a daily as-it-happens daily edition on their website: http://www.theceomagazine-ug.com/. In this interview, the magazine’s Executive Editor, Muhereza Kyamutetera shares why the magazine has taken this bold move.
The CEO Magazine has been running for 7 years now; at a time you are supposed to be announcing for example, acquisition of your own printing facilities, you are instead announcing a cross-over to online publishing. Why such a bold move?
Our decision is purely a business move that has been informed by the trends. Print as a medium of communication is not growing- in fact it is sliding almost everywhere across the world; save for the tabloids that seem to be defying this general decline. Back at home in Uganda, all the leading dailies are not growing their print circulation, save for the vernacular ones.
Even us as The CEO Magazine, print readership was generally stagnating, while we saw our online readership continue to grow. Increased cost of printing without a corresponding willingness for readers to pay more in terms of cover price, is unsustainable, therefore leading to this change.
How timely is this decision? Is the Ugandan market ready for a wholly online site from both an editorial and advertising perspective?
We believe it is a stitch in time. While print circulation is not growing steadily, internet subscribers and users grew by 21% and 25% respectively in the 12 months leading to June 2014. Today there are an estimated 9 million Ugandans with access to the internet and with a growth above 20%, online is the future of everything and we want to start living that future today.
Regarding the advertising front, we have seen significant shift by all the major brands to online advertising. Today, all the top 100 brands in Uganda, including government, NGOs, FMCGs, telecoms etc have presence online. Some brands especially telecoms and utility companies have even shifted significant Customer Care operations to online. this shows growing acceptance of online as a communication medium.
That said, today, other than radio, online is the second biggest medium of communication whose reach is bigger than that of TV, Print & outdoor combined. The sooner advertisers wake up to this, the better it will be for them.
What should your readers expect with this change in terms of the content?
The CEO Magazine cut its teeth and was known for exclusive content- hardly seen in other places. We became that magazine with news that leaders needed read to be able to lead. We expect to continue being that, delivering even deeper and well investigated stories. We will also offer other relevant content, such as jobs, tenders etc.
Since most of Ugandans access the internet via mobile, we will be soon rolling off a mobile App as well as introduce several other news platforms such as videos, podcasts etc, all of which will make it the most interactive website in Uganda.
The main source of revenue for magazines comes from advertising. What are the pros and cons of going online in terms of revenues?
True, most if not all media houses make money from advertising. But advertisers do not just advertise for the sake of advertising. They want to advertise with media that have readers. As I have already explained, online readership is growing like wild-fire. Online presents us a chance to recruit readers from all over Uganda and outside Uganda. With increased readership, we should certainly attract advertising both local and international.
There are also there are numerous forms of growing revenue online such as online subscriptions, online ad portals etc. If you ask me, online is the future and anyone resisting it, will be crushed.
Nyambura is a senior journalist based in Kampala