Pricing strategy drives content expansion with readers’ trust…  


Talking about 1 Ringgit,

why is it that the minimum tip you can select for a Grab Food rider is RM2?

To be perfectly blunt, a price increase for content is not a seismic event in a world that’s already embracing the subscription model.

In fact, news publishers expect bigger growth in subscriptions this year.*     

Most content portals already have paywalls that can be hard or soft, meaning some content may be free, while others require payment; the same freemium subscription model, used by Google, YouTube, Spotify, Dropbox…

*Data from a survey of 303 media leaders in 53 countries for ‘Journalism, media and technology trends and predictions 2023’.

Authenticity Armageddon

Creators on social networks are actually normalising the habit of paying for exclusive newspaper content and this is because of trust and authenticity issues related to most social platforms.

An annual worldwide study of news trends has ranked The Star as the top English-language news portal in brand trust scores among surveyed brands in Malaysia, year on year. The Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2022, the 11th edition in an annual series, found that when it comes to brand trust scores in Malaysia, The Star scored 56%. See Chart A from Statista on previous page.

Alex Yeow, Group CEO of Star Media Group

I spoke to Alex Yeow, Group CEO of Star Media Group (SMG); I actually bumped into him in Osaka a few days ago…..

He says, “We don’t believe in trimming content. Our plan is to increase both content and quality to make it the only read worth your while.”

“In previous years, we’ve been trimming pages to cope with industry challenges revolving around decreasing circulation and rising material cost. Now, we’re taking one of our boldest moves yet by increasing the number of pages to bring readers expanded content and enhanced offerings.”

“We’ve listened to the feedback from readers calling for more content, and we are now excited to share daily exclusive pullouts covering readers’ favourite topics.”

He tells me, “There will be specials on the outdoor environment, food history and journeys, family activities, specials on parenting, gardening, home improvement and new tech updates besides lifestyle, entertainment, culture and fashion.”

My research also revealed that the habit of paying for quality content is on the uptrend globally.   

Alex adds, ”The price of The Star ePaper will not be affected and will remain as is, to allow more readers to have access to our paper. The pricing for the Digital Access membership for and The Star Malaysia app will remain unaffected as well.

Recent news

The Edge and its owner, Tong Kooi Ong, has bought out a 5.42% stake in Star Media Group (SMG), the publisher of The Star. Following this, The Edge will be a substantial stakeholder in SMG. This makes them the second single largest shareholder in the nation’s largest English daily.

Tong added, “This is an investment in a company whose share price and capitalisation have for several years been well below the cash it has, and the value of its property assets. It has no debt and is clearly under-valued.”   

A media industry leader says that The Star’s share price has risen more than 60% in the past six months, which he deems could mean that the market thinks the stock has an upside.

The share price of SMG rose 57% for last month and had a high of 50 sen at mid-day today, giving it a market capitalisation of RM365.59 million. Earlier this year, SMG reported a 16% increase in revenue for its 2022 financial year to RM217million

Now that I am back in Tokyo, gotta hit Shinjuku!

This article was published in MARKETING Weekender

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