Asia's digital publishers talk apps, not ads: Digital Matters 2011

David Wolf

Read all of David Wolf's reports from Digital Matters 2011.

Monetizing digital distribution in the face of rampant piracy remains a challenge for content owners throughout Asia. The region remains a hub for piracy of movies, music, games, and now electronic books. But delivering newspapers and magazines via apps to smartphones and tablets is starting to show so much promise that several of Asia's leading publishers are speculating about a declining role for advertising in digital media in the region.

More readers, more money

First, apps are helping publishers fill holes in their current distribution footprints. Nick Blunden, Global Digital Publisher for The Economist, explained that The Economist app for iPad has been downloaded 1.7 million times, triple original expectations for the time frame. He noted that while the digital subscriptions delivered by the company's app have complemented the magazine's subscriber business in most countries, in countries like China, where printing and distributing magazines are difficult, the apps have significantly augmented business.