e-paper makes its way in the Russian press
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For leading Russian newspapers having an e-
Alexander Chekshin is marketing and online projects director of Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP), Russia’s largest circulation national daily.
“The digital version fits into our strategy 100 percent," Chekshin says. "We are building a multiplatform media company and SmartEdition (from NewspaperDirect) is yet another distribution channel. We regard it as very promising as advertising vehicle in the future, yet so far the demand among advertisers has been low. SmartEdition was launched a couple of years ago as a paid service. Now we plan to make it free. There have been very few subscribers, primarily foreigners. Free access can increase their numbers. The format will not become really popular until average users have access to portable devices for reading the e-paper format.
"Among the functions we like with this format is the possibility to see a full map of readership: how the attention of the readers is distributed on the page, which headlines they prefer, what captures their attention the most. If such tracking mechanism of readers’ preferences is combined with detailed readers’ demographics, this will be extremely useful to publishers.“
Victor Saxon is head of the Internet technologies department at Vedomosti, a daily business paper, joint venture between the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and Moscow-
“Vedomosti is a market leader, and we lead the market in everything," Saxon says. "In more practical terms, we regard e-
Subscribe.ru is a Russian online media distribution channel that boasts 5 million subscribers to their services. In addition to distributing online media by paid or free subscriptions, they are conducting marketing and advertising campaigns and help develop Internet media outlets. Valentin Korobkov is special projects director.
IFRA: When did you launch your e-
Korobkov: In 2005 we started distributing PDF versions of our clients’ titles. Yet many publishers were not happy with having their products distributed in a form not protected from uncontrolled copying. Thus we developed a new mechanism: each subscriber of esmi.subscribe.ru downloads a specially designed clients program eSMI Reader that enables him to subscribe to publications, download them and search in his library. Publishers deliver print-
In December 2007, we formally launched the e-
IFRA: Do you have newspapers in your catalogue?
Korobkov. Technically speaking, we only have one newspaper. It is called Outdoor Media, comes out once a month and looks more like a magazine than a newspaper. Among the magazines, we have such popular titles as Playboy and Rolling Stone among our clients, but the most numerous are niche magazines, e.g. trade magazines like Ukrainian Engineering, or “do-
IFRA: What is the pricing policy, and how many subscribers to various titles have you generated so far?
Korobkov: The price is established by publishers. We recommend that they charge 70 percent of the paper version subscription price. We collect the money for publishers and charge a commission fee. We also conduct marketing campaigns for our clients during which we sell subscriptions with big discounts.
So far, I’d say the number of subscribers is in single digits for each individual title. In general, many people use free trial subscriptions but few subscribe for money. The reason is twofold. First, publishers still fear that e-
Yet we are quite optimistic about the future of the projects. First of all, we have a database of 5 million clients of our various services and this enables us to do targeted marketing. Secondly, protection from copying is a big advantage to publishers.
These interviews were conducted by IFRA Magazine correspondent Alexei Pankin.