A local trade union has hinted that a leading media company in Hong Kong may stop publishing some of its magazines amid declining revenue from its print business.
In a Facebook post, Next Media Trade Union quoted the company’s management as being “highly pessimistic” about the future of print media. It added that the company faced difficulties in running its existing publications and would have to seek solutions in order to reduce its deficit.
The union said that half of the total staff responsible for Book A – the current affairs section of Next Magazine – will be laid off shortly.
Ming Pao reported that the managing editor of Next Magazine confirmed plans to lay off staff in July, though the number of potential job losses was not confirmed.
DBC quoted a source stating that the magazine will cease publication and switch to an online format from September.
In its 2014-15 annual report, Next Media said it “faced continuous contraction of the paid-for daily newspapers market”. Revenue from its printing division dropped 21.6% compared to last year. It attributed the decrease to a drop in print advertising and circulation income.
However, it said the digital business had become profitable with high readership. The company said it was due to a “shift of reading habit” from print to online.
Next Media is a listed media company in Hong Kong, founded by media tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying in the 1990s. Its business spans the Hong Kong and Taiwanese markets. The company publishes Apple Daily, Next Magazine and FACE magazine in the city and owns the animation subsidiary Next Media Animation.
On Thursday, a leader of the Hong Kong Journalists Association told HKFP that “it’s only a matter of time that some papers will have to close down.” Shirley Yam, vice-chairperson of the HKJA, said that newspaper closures were “the result of the economic pressure and the financial pressure that the Hong Kong media have been facing for some time.”
On Friday, Sing Pao announced that it would temporarily cease publication under orders from its provisional liquidators. A liquidation application was filed against the parent company of the newspaper after land owners accused the media corporation of not paying rent. The high court has since appointed two provisional liquidators to take over the running of the company.
Last Sunday, another Chinese-language newspaper, Hong Kong Daily News, also shut down after 56 years.