Nation Multimedia Group will launch an English-language daily paper in Myanmar in a joint venture with a leading local publisher in a bid to expand its regional business and share its expertise with a neighbouring country.
From tomorrow, those interested in Myanmar can enjoy reading the e-paper version, which readers can download via www.nationmultimedia.com.
The English daily “Myanmar Eleven” will be launched by mid-February by Eleven-Nation Media Co Ltd.
“There is a strong demand for information in Myanmar after the country has undergone reforms but the supply is still limited, especially news and information in English. With our expertise in this business, we believe we can play a part in this development,’ Thepchai Yong, editor-in-chief of NMG, said.
After two years of reforms, Myanmar is in need of know-how in economics, the media and communications. The media landscape has gradually developed. One of the major changes is that the government has allowed daily newspapers in the country.
“Myanmar media has entered a new era. Daily newspapers were never allowed in Myanmar, but they are now. Our partner Eleven Media is a publisher of bi-weekly newspapers and they are the market leader, with sales five times more than the second in the market,” Pana Janviroj, president of Nation News Network Co, publisher of The Nation, said.
Among the exciting developments was the government’s move to end newspaper censorship six months ago. However, Thepchai said it was still too early to say freedom of the press was flourishing, as publishers must still follow the law and adopt self-censorship.
“We want to position Myanmar Eleven in the same position as The Nation, as an independent newspaper,” Thepchai noted.
In terms of business, NMG sees the expansion into the media sector in Myanmar as a good opportunity to make NMG and its partner Eleven Media more competitive for the arrival of the Asean Economic Community at the end of 2015.
The two companies have spent over a year preparing for the launch of the English-language daily. The joint venture has Bt40 million in registered capital with the Myanmar side holding 51 per cent of shares and NMG the rest.
Pana said “Myanmar Eleven” would have a starting circulation of 20,000 copies a day. But the companies expect that it will sell 30,000 copies a day one year from its launch.
As for the e-paper, which starts tomorrow, it will soon be available via NMG’s N-Store and Amazon.com. The subscription rate is US$115 (Bt3,776) per annum. Obviously, readers are not limited to those living in Myanmar but will include others keen to learn about business and investments in the country.
For the editorial content, “Myanmar Eleven” will focus on providing readers with news and information from Myanmar, but in the context that it is a member of Asean. The paper also bridges the gap between Myanmar and other member countries of the regional body. “That is the area in which we can chip in and give support, in adding content on the business and diplomatic scenes with our expertise and experience. In addition, the new daily will also benefit from its membership of the Asia News Network, an alliance of 22 leading newspapers in 19 countries,” Pana said.
The start of the AEC and the fast pace of reform in Myanmar is driving demand for news and information. “Myanmar Eleven” is positioned to answer that increasing demand from inside Myanmar and beyond.