Sunday, October 30, 2005

Asia/Press Freedom Index 2005

RSF: North Korea, Eritrea and Turkmenistan are the world’s “black holes” for news

"East Asia (Burma 163rd, China 159th, Vietnam 158th, Laos 155th), Central Asia (Turkmenistan 165th, Uzbekistan 155th, Afghanistan 125th, Kazakhstan 119th) and the Middle East (Iran 164th, Iraq 157th, Saudi Arabia 154th, Syria 145th) are where journalists have the toughest time and where government repression or armed groups prevent the media operating freely." See more about Asia (pdf)


The Sydney Morning Herald: You wouldn't read about it, but Asia's press thrives

"Three-quarters of the world's best-selling dailies are now published in Asia, with The Times of India claiming the largest broadsheet circulation in the English-speaking world. In China, almost 100 million newspapers are sold every day, and in India it's more than 70 million. Considering the more than 2 billion potential readers in those two Asian markets alone, the only way to go is up, says the editor of the Indian daily The Hindu, N. Ram. And media advertising growth is far outstripping even soaring national growth rates."

"Tarun Tejpal, editor-in-chief of Tehelka, said of India's media explosion: "If you already have a swimming pool to swim in, then you're not interested in much else. But we are a society in transition, everyone wants to know what's happening. The curve in newspapers is still going up and will do so for some time.""

"In India there is an untapped market of 500 million people who do not yet read a newspaper. Another editor, Mythili Bhusnurmath of The Financial Express, said: "We are one of the only countries left in the world in which literacy is still rising, and the first thing a new reader picks up is a newspaper.""

"Indian editors are confident that there is "generations more" expansion ahead for newsprint, in tandem with digital communication. But, as the Australian media consultant Paul Budde warned Indian proprietors at a media conference in Chennai this week, the end of newspapers is coming faster than Asia thinks. Which means Asia could well be enjoying newsprint's last, glorious gasp."


CNN: E-commerce key to China Web growth

Jack Ma, the founder of

"China Internet growth is interesting because of (the popularity of) SMS and because of online gaming. I don't believe SMS will save the Chinese economy, I don't believe online gaming will change the China economy, but e-commerce, I believe will. E-commerce for the small to medium sized companies, e-commerce for Chinese companies to export overseas, e-commerce (for) helping foreign companies come to China -- that will be the future, that will be the chance to change the economy and change the fate of the economy. So I think this is the value I want to create for the small to medium sized companies in China, in the world, to give them more opportunities."

Saturday, October 29, 2005


The Hindu: Are newspapers under threat from the new media?

"N. Murali, Joint Managing Director, The Hindu, said though India had emerged as one of the fastest growing media markets, the growth pattern was ``on the back of flimsy economics.'' Predatory price wars and excessive dependence on advertising revenue had disturbed the economic stability (of newspapers) and journalistic independence. ``What is happening in the market place defies all logic and [we need to return to] sound business principles. Unless newspapers are priced right, the frenetic growth may not be sustainable,'' he added. The Indian media was headed the American way, with news being increasingly doctored to suit advertisers, Kamlendra Kanwar, Resident Editor, The New Indian Express, said. There was a steady erosion of journalistic freedom and trivialisation of content, necessitating safeguards."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Asia/Internet Audience Measurement

Tekrati: Nielsen//NetRatings Launches Market Intelligence in South East Asia

"Nielsen//NetRatings introduced a new Internet audience measurement service in Singapore and Hong Kong. The new service, called Market Intelligence, provides independent, third party verification of Internet traffic which enables publishers, site owners, media and advertising agencies to benchmark the true performance of Web sites and advertising campaigns. Initial clients include MSN Southeast Asia,, Langham Hotels and China Travel Services."

Asia/Internet Filtering

NY Times/Mediachannel: Study Says Software Makers Supply Tools to Censor Web

"Myanmar "employs one of the most restrictive regimes of Internet filtering worldwide that we have studied," said Ronald J. Deibert, a principal investigator for the OpenNet Initiative and the director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto. Myanmar now joins several nations, including China, Iran and Singapore, in relying on Western software and hardware to accomplish their goals, Mr. Deibert said."

"Microsoft, Cisco and Yahoo, for example, have all come under fire recently for providing technology or otherwise cooperating with the Chinese government to enable it to monitor and censor Internet use."

Asia/Foreign Broadcasters/RFA

Taipei Times: New Radio Free Asia director draws on rich heritage

"Last month, Liu, 41, became one of the world's most powerful media executives when she was tapped to be the president of Radio Free Asia (RFA), the US-funded broadcast service that brings news to the information-starved people of China and other repressive Asian regimes."

"In that position, she will oversee a Washington-based organization of 240 people that broadcasts around the clock, seven days a week, to closed Asian countries in nine languages -- Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, Tibetan, Uighur, Burmese, Khmer, Korean, Lao and Vietnamese. RFA has bureaus in Taipei, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, Seoul and Bangkok and staffers in Tokyo and other Asian cities."

"As a Taiwanese-American, one of the opportunities Liu will have as RFA president is to oversee the spread of news in China, including news of developments in Taiwan. She insists that RFA will not try to proselytize, but instead will be even-handed in presenting the news to the Chinese people.For instance, when asked how she would handle the issue of Taiwan's independence, Liu replied:"To us, it's news, just like any other piece of news. We try to cover news from both angles. We do not take a position on any of those issues. We don't promote or speak against Taiwan['s] independence, but rather we make sure that we cover each event from every angle," she said."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

China/Ad Agencies

AdAgeChina: Japan Inc. Takes Closer Look at China

"Ad agencies “increasingly are asked by clients to help them with marketing strategies for China,” said Mark Blair, Ogilvy‘s Tokyo-based president, Japan, “to help them understand local conditions and make new products that are right for China.”
As in Japan, Dentsu is the biggest competitor for Japanese clients the multinational agencies face in China.. Much to its dismay, Japan’s advertising agency giant Dentsu has not succeeded in building a strong global network, but is determined to dominate the Chinese market the way it does in Japan."

"While Dentsu cannot own Chinese TV stations outright, the way it owns much of Japan’s airwaves, it has aggressively forged alliances with production companies like Shanghai Media Group to create branded content opportunities. Dentsu’s deep pockets also mean it can operate indefinitely with lower margins than Western agencies owned by holding companies with strict revenue targets like WPP Group. Dentsu now operates one of the largest agencies in Beijing."

Monday, October 24, 2005

Asia/Media Survey/BBC World BBC World's viewership figures in Asia reaching an all-time high : PAX 2005

"Result from the latest Pan-Asia-Pacific Cross-Media Survey (PAX) and Asian Media Brand Values study indicates that audience figures confirm the strength and relevance of international news channels and, particularly, of BBC World to the region's elite."

"In a statement issued by BBC World, PAX points out that BBC World's monthly audience has risen by 34 per cent year-on-year among affluent and influential viewers in Asia-Pacific. The new Asian Media Brand Values study, issued for the first time, sees respondents praising BBC World for the quality of its output and the trust they have in the channel."

South Asia/Freedom of Expression

Article XIX: "War of Words: Conflict and Freedom of Expression in South Asia"

"In conflict-ridden countries, freedom of expression is commonly assumed to be one of the first casualties as opposing sides seek to control or manipulate information to meet their political goals. But the difficult questions of how the media should balance "national security concerns" with the need to report critically, and how governments should respect international free expression standards while combating terrorism, has not been given much in-depth analysis."

"The IFEX member has published a new study that analyses three countries - India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It finds that media reporting in these countries is often polarised along political, ethnic or religious lines, and that media ownership is seen by opposing sides as a key element in gaining control of information flows. It also finds that restrictions on free expression during conflict have a disproportionately adverse effect on women."

Source: ECCR-Mailing list

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Asia-Pacific/Media Industry Forecasts

Reuters: Media, entertainment to see faster growth-report

"The world's entertainment and media industries will grow faster in the second half of the decade than the first, reaching $1.8 trillion in annual sales by 2009, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. The Asia-Pacific region, driven by gains in China and India, was seen expanding fastest, at nearly 12 per cent per year, to reach $432 billion in the same period."

"The fastest-growing media sector worldwide will be video games, with double-digit growth spurred by sales of next-generation consoles, online and wireless Internet access spending and online advertising, the report said.
Newspaper publishing was expected to see the slowest growth during the period, with 3.3 percent compound annual growth in ad sales and circulation revenue bringing sales to $202 billion worldwide by 2009, the report said."

Thailand/Libel Lawsuits/Journalists

The International Herald Tribune: Aura of fear pervades Thai media

"If Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had hoped, as critics suggested, to scare Thailand's journalists by filing libel lawsuits that seek more than $12 million in damages from a media group owner and his partner, he has at least partially succeeded."

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Media Fund

The Sydney Morning Herald: Macquarie Media may shop in Asia, too

"Macquarie Bank's new media fund is casting its net far and wide in the hunt for assets, focusing first on Australia, the UK, Europe and the US, but also keeping an eye on the more developed markets in Asia. Executive chairman Tim Hughes said Macquarie Media Group would look at broadcasters, outdoor advertising companies, newspapers and the internet and its expansion did not depend on changes to Australia's cross-media ownership laws, which he described as "ancient in this world"."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

China/News Agencies/Xinhua

RSF: Xinhua : the world’s biggest propaganda agency

"On the eve of the 56th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Reporters Without Borders releases a report of an investigation into the role of the news agency Xinhua News Agency in the system of propaganda and censorship put in place by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)."

"With less than three years to go before the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the worldwide press freedom organisation calls on the Chinese government to reform the state-run media."

"Although it is more and more regularly cited as a credible source - nearly one third of the news reports on China selected by Google News originate from the agency - Xinhua, the head of which has the rank of minister, is the linchpin of control of the Chinese media."

Asia-Pasific Media Indystry Outlook/New Book

The Asia-Pacific Media Industry Outlook is a leading source of information, analysis and data for the Asia-Pacific media industry, including detailed coverage and analysis of the leading markets and companies in the media industry. In addition, the Asia-Pacific Media Industry Outlook covers the key issues and trends impacting the media industry both today and in the coming years. Furthermore, the report details the key developments in the entertainment and news sectors in the region."

See more

Indonesia/Foreign Media Giants/Star TV

NY Times: Murdoch's Star TV Invests in Indonesian Network

"Star TV, Rupert Murdoch's Asian broadcaster, acquired a strategic stake in an Indonesian television network Thursday, securing a place in one of Asia's fastest-growing markets, the two companies said."

"Star TV, a satellite and cable operator based in Hong Kong, will buy 20 percent of the national network ANTV, giving it a firmer foothold in Indonesia, Asia's third most populous country. Star TV pay-television services are already available on cable and satellite in Indonesia."

Monday, October 10, 2005

China/Advertising/Foreign Media Giants/Viacom

PRNewswire: Viacom Outdoor Announces Strategic Acquisition in China

"Viacom Outdoor announced - - that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 70 percent control of Magic Media the Beijing-based company that has the primary rights for advertising on the city's bus system. The deal, which is expected to be completed in October, comes with an option to acquire the remaining 30 percent in five years, and represents the Division's first purchase in thePeople's Republic of China. Viacom Outdoor will become a unit of the new CBS Corporation upon the split of Viacom Inc. into two independent Companies."

India/Tv Driving growth & profit in a changing broadcast paradigm

"The television environment is changing constantly in India and now with addressablility coming in the form of more direct to home (DTH) platforms, which are scheduled to launch in the coming months; broadcasters have to constantly keep pace with the changing industry dynamics to drive growth and profit."

Friday, October 07, 2005

China/Foreign Forest Industry Giant/Norske Skog

Aftenposten: Norske Skog sees future in China

"Norwegian forest products firm Norske Skog has seen the future, and it's in China. Catching flak at home for seeking to shut down a paper plant in Skien, the company basked in the glare of TV lights in China, where it has opened the world's largest newspaper production facility."

"Norske Skog chief executive Jan Oksum could enjoy some positive reinforcement around him, instead of the criticism he's had in Norway. His company's new plant 280 kilometers south of Beijing, in Shijiazhuang, will produce 330,000 tons of newspaper print to Chinese customers."

China is the world's third-largest consumer of newspaper print, and the market is growing by 7-8 percent a year," Oksum noted.

Built on a former cornfield, the Hebei plant will make Norske Skog the world's largest producer of newspaper in the world. It's owned by PanAsia, in which Norske Skog holds 80 percent and Hebei Longteng Paper Corp of China holds 20 percent."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

China/Internet/New Rules

NY Times: China Sets New Media Restrictions, This Time for the Internet

"China on Sunday imposed more restrictions on the news media, designed to limit the news and other information available to Internet users, and sharply restricted the scope of content permitted on Web sites."

"The rules are part of a broader effort to roll back what the Communist Party views as a threatening trend toward liberalization in the news media. Taken together, the measures amount to a stepped-up effort to police the Internet, which has become a dominant source of news and information for millions of urban Chinese."

"Major search engines and portals like and, used by millions of Chinese each day, must stop posting their own commentary articles and instead make available only opinion pieces generated by government-controlled newspapers and news agencies, the regulations stipulate."

China/Foreign Media/New Rules

The Los Angeles Times/Orlando Sentinel: Foreign media hits 'brick wall' in China

"Last year, prospects looked good when China moved toward loosening rules on foreign media investments. But in recent months, Liu and other leaders of the Chinese government have clamped down on foreigners' participation in China's burgeoning media industry, declaring last month that they won't allow more foreign television channels and will tighten their grip over the 31 satellite broadcasters in China."

"Chinese officials say they want to "safeguard national cultural security." But some analysts think the restrictions are aimed at keeping advertising revenue in the hands of state-controlled and domestic media enterprises. Even as Beijing moved to limit foreign companies, it has encouraged the development of private domestic media companies."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cyber-Dissidents/RSF´s new Guidebook

The Washington Post: Guide Aims to Help Bloggers Beat Censors

"A Paris-based media watchdog has released an ABC guide of tips for bloggers and dissidents to sneak past Internet censors in countries from China to Iran."

"Reporters Without Borders' "Handbook for Blogger and Cyber-Dissidents" is partly financed by the French government and includes technical advice on how to remain anonymous online. It was launched at the Apple Expo computer show in Paris on Thursday and can also be downloaded from RSF's Web site in Chinese, Arabic, Persian, English and French."

"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," Julien Pain, head of the watchdog's Internet Freedom desk, writes in the introduction."

China/Court/Internet Search

Reuters/Cnet: Baidu ordered to ax music referral service

"A Beijing court has ordered Chinese search leader to stop directing people to music download sites, in a case that may set a precedent as China seeks to show it can enforce copyright."

"Baidu, which aspires to become the Chinese equivalent of world search leader Google, said it plans to appeal the case brought by Shanghai Busheng Music Culture Media, a joint venture between EMI Group and a Chinese partner."

"China is trying to protect intellectual property rights in a country where pirated music, movies and software are available on almost all street corners."

Asia/International Business Newspaper/WSJ

WSJ: Journal Redesigns Banner For International Editions

"Dow Jones & Co. - - will unveil a pioneering new nameplate design for the international editions of The Wall Street Journal, reflecting their integration with The Wall Street Journal Online edition beginning Oct. 17. - - As part of the Oct. 17 relaunch, subscribers in Asia and Europe will be offered special packages that combine print and online access, an information package intended to serve mobile businesspeople 24 hours a day with news."


Vnanet: Per-capita newspaper average to up one-third by 2010

"The Vietnamese government plans to have 900 million copies of assorted newspapers printed by 2010, thus suppling each citizen with 10 copies of newspapers annually to read against the current 7.5 copies.The 10 year-long information strategy has also called for an increase in the number of books, from two books per capita to five."'

"Other targets include increasing the proportion of Vietnamese television series to 60 percent and giving all families in mountainous areas access to audio/ video facilities. The number of Internet subscribers is to reach 8.4 per cent while the rate of Internet users is expected to reach up to 40 percent, according to the strategy."

Thailand/Media Giant/Takeover dropped

BBC News: Takeover of Thai paper dropped

"An entertainment industry mogul in Thailand has abandoned his hostile takeover bid for the country's most respected newspaper, Matichon. Paiboon Damrongchaitham, head of the GMM Grammy group, said he would cut his majority stake due to protests from the newspaper's owners and staff. Journalists and democracy activists had denounced his attempt to buy into the paper as an attack on press freedom. Mr Paiboon is known to be close to the Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

South Korea/Citizen Journalism/Ohmy News

The San Francisco Chronicle: Korean online newspaper enlists army of 'citizen reporters', Multitudes log on daily to read and respond to stories

"OhmyNews is much more than a soapbox, though. It is a cross between an online news site and a sophisticated blog. Koreans flock to it. The site gets 1.7 million to 2 million page views each day, a number that shot up to 25 million during the December 2002 presidential election."

"When reformer Roh Moo Hyun won the tight presidential race, he granted his first domestic interview to OhmyNews -- a slap to the conservative corporate daily papers that supported his rival."

"The privately held Web site has been profitable since September 2003 and is projected to pull in $10 million this year, Min said. By contrast, in San Francisco pulled in $6.6 million in fiscal year 2005 and had 1.1 million average daily page views in July, according to market research firm comScore Media Metrix. The DailyKos, a popular liberal blog written in Berkeley, had 96,774 average daily page views, and conservative blog Instapundit had 32,258 in July."

China/Internet and U.S. Tech Giants

The San Francisco Chronicle: Chinese Internet vs. free speech, Hard choices for U.S. Tech Giants

"U.S. tech giants are helping the Chinese express themselves online -- as long as they don't write about democracy, Tibet, sex, Tiananmen Square, Falun Gong, government corruption or any other taboo subject."

"Microsoft bans "democracy" and "Dalai Lama" from the Chinese version of its blog site. Yahoo recently turned over information that helped the Chinese government track down and imprison a journalist for the crime of forwarding an e-mail. Google omits banned publications from its Chinese news service."

Thailand/Media Industry/Advertising

The Bangkok Post: Time for Reflection

"A shadow of gloom has been cast over the media industry which in recent years has enjoyed prosperity. Barriers to growth - the slowing economy, the prolonged impact of the Dec 26 tsunami, violence in the South and inflation caused by rising oil prices - have all created an uncertain outlook for the industry."

"As a result, some advertisers are taking a waitandsee attitude on their media spending budgets and are moving ahead with caution. Advertising is the main source of income in the media sector and was the key reason for industry growth in recent years. But media spending figures released by Nielsen Media Research Thailand show disappointing results in the first quarter of the year. "

"The company said advertising in the first quarter of 2005 grew 1.2% to 19.9 billion baht year on year. In the same quarter of 2004, ad spending had risen 23.4% to 16 billion baht."

Thailand/Media Giants/Takeover Bids

The Bangkok Post: The Message about Managing in Media

"There has never been as much animated and impassioned talk about the media in Thailand as during the past week. Every day front-page leads have been carrying the dramatic blow-by-blow accounts of the entertainment giant GMM Media's hostile takeover bids of two of the country's largest and most respected media institutions."

"Everyone has an opinion on the subject. Business observers appear to nod in approval at what looked like a savvy albeit aggressive move, giving the entertainment corporation new and improved content distribution channels."

China/Television/New Rules on Correct Language

MediaChannel: You Say 'Lei Ho', We Say You're Fired, TV Hosts Told

"Mainland television and radio hosts have been banned from using Hong Kong and Taiwanese accents on air. Anybody breaking the rules could lose their job under new rules issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television."

"The guidelines - - include standards and requirements covering the way a presenter may dress, style their hair, sound and participate in commercial activities."

"Don't use regional dialects or imitate Hong Kong and Taiwanese accents," the new rules say. "Except in situations of special need, radio and TV hosts across the mainland should use standard Putonghua in their programmes."

"Mixing "unnecessary" foreign language with Putonghua was also prohibited. The rules also require hosts to display "healthy and enterprising images" and to make sure their appearance and presentation is "in good taste and decorous"."

India/Foreign Media Giants/Springer

IndianTelevision: Springer to commence media business publishing from India

"The world's second largest player in publishing technical articles with a 10 per cent global market share and the largest in books with a 25 per cent market share – Germany’s Springer Science Business to Business (SSB2B) is bullish on India."

"SSB2B, one of the leaders in scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishing is making its presence in India through two entities - Springer (India) in Delhi and Scientific Publishing Services in Chennai. Today, SSB2B CEO Haank announced that India would continue to play a strategic role in the STM market as well as in business process outsourcing."

"Currently, 25 per cent of SSB2B's 5000 strong labour force is in India, and the company plans to increase India’s share to 50 per cent of their global projected work force over the next few years, even if this means job cuts for their European and American labor force. “We have not taken it upon ourselves to subsidise the German economy, we have a responsibility to our share-holders”, said Hank during a press conference in Bangalore."

Asia/Top 100 Tech Companies/Media

Red Herring: Asia 100: Entertainment & Media

Animation Technologies (Taipei)

BigWorld (Australia)

DQ Entertainment (India)

Gamevil (South Korea)

icube (South Korea)


Paprikaas Animation Studios (India)

SAPFX (Singapore)

Trango Interactive (Pakistan)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hong Kong-China/New Free Weekend Newspaper

Xinhua Online: Free weekend newspaper to be launched in HK

"Sing Tao News Corporation of Hong Kong announced here the launch of "Express Post", Hong Kong's only free weekend newspaper. An average of 300,000 copies of the paper will be distributed every Saturday morning at all Mass Transit Railway stations. This is the second free newspaper launched by Sing Tao who started to distribute "Headline Daily", their first trial, in July and a positive response has been received."

"Chairman of Sing Tao Charles Ho Tsu-Kwok said the market of free newspapers has tremendous potential and with "Express Post" Sing Tao can fully leverage on their competitive advantage of being the first and the only market player. According to information on the latest yearbook of the Hong Kong government, at year-end 2004, there were 21 Chinese-language dailies, 13 English-language dailies, 7 bilingual dailies and 5 in other languages in Hong Kong. There is another free newspaper Metro which was launched in 2002, with daily distribution of about 300,000 copies.

Asia/Online Gaming

Reuters: Asia tackles online game addiction

"The online game sector is growing explosively in Asia, worth an estimated $1.1 billion last year with annual growth set to average 19 percent through 2008, according to IDC. South Korea is the region's biggest market, worth $397 million last year. But the booming China market is catching up fast, worth $298 million last year when it bypassed Taiwan to become the region's second-biggest."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

China/Foreign Media Giants/Viacom/Advertising

Financial Times: Viacom acquires 70% of Chinese ad group

"Viacom, the US media conglomerate, has taken a 70 per cent stake in Magic Media, an outdoor advertising company in Beijing, as it seeks to tap into the fast-growing Chinese advertising market.The deal, which includes an option to acquire the remaining 30 per cent of Magic after five years, was struck by Viacom’s outdoor advertising division."