Hong Kong, March 4, 2004 – SCMP.com, the Internet edition of the South China Morning Post has launched an exciting Q&A session On the Spot which lets readers interact live online with top columnists.
As part of its second subscription renewals campaign, SCMP.com this month launched four new products including On the Spot so readers can look forward to getting more out of SCMP.com, their online and print communities.
On the Spot gives readers a chance to have their say and join in lively debate on whatever concerns them. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 to 11.30am, opinionated Post writers will field questions live and on the spot. The initial line up includes popular business columnist Jake van der Kamp, veteran journalist Kevin Sinclair and Technology editor Neil Taylor. "On the Spot offers a far more integrated approach with the paper and website. We feel that our on and offline products are complimentary and so our promotion is structured to reflect that. You read Jake’s column in the paper, and then you can go online to discuss it with him. Depending on what you want from an SCMP product, you have the timeliness and interaction online, or the analysis and commentary in print" said Amanda Turnbull, the Post’s Director of Marketing and Communications. Readers can look forward to an extensive line up of Post writers and contributors in the coming year.
Other new features are:
Tomorrow’s News – An SMS alert service delivering advance news headlines direct to subscribers’ mobile phones so they can stay ahead of the press
Timely TV Guide – A searchable interactive guide to Hong Kong TV programmes, including highlights and critics’ reviews, compiled and updated daily.
Health and Fitness E-newsletter – A weekly e-newsletter to help readers keep abreast of all the developments in the search for healthy living with links to articles on conventional and not so conventional solutions.
Christopher Axberg, SCMP.com Publisher said, "We want to change the way people interact with the news and provide them with useful information and tools relevant to live their lives. On the Spot will get readers involved and give our writers a platform to connect and interact with them. We want to turn it into a virtual auditorium for great debate."
SCMP.com was one of the first newspaper sites in Asia to make the pioneering move to switch from a free service to a full subscription-based model in February 2002. The move has been extremely positive with the site generating over 20,000 subscribers. Last February, as part of its renewals campaign, SCMP.com threw open its site for free so that non-subscribers could visit the site and the new attractions since it moved to paid subscription. New additions to the site last year included a Greater China newspaper digest, Talkback, a have-your-say forum and an expanded Greater China map.
This year the site has increased its price to HK$399 (US$51.50) for an annual subscription. Axberg said he was confident that the new subscription price would not deter readers, "Readers realise the value of paying for high-quality content and services. The price is not that expensive, and globally, consumers are warming to the notion of paying for online content". Existing subscribers can renew in the coming year at the old price of HK$249 (US$32).
The campaign is part of SCMP.com’s continual effort to grow its product and provide a useful service for its users. Mr Axberg was extremely positive that the campaign would be a success and would achieve its objective of achieving a 65% renewal rate for 1st year renewals and 80% for second year renewals.
SCMP.com is the Internet edition of the South China Morning Post, Asia’s most respected source of English language news for almost 100 years. SCMP.com leverages the superior content of the South China Morning Post and offers unrivalled and independent local news coverage plus in-depth analysis of Greater China, regular updates throughout the day, e-newsletters, news on PDA, special reports and 10 free articles from the SCMP archive for an annual fee of HK$399 (US$51.50). In February 2002, SCMP.com went from being a free service to a subscription-based service. The site has over 20,000 paid subscribers and delivers over 25 million pageviews a month.
For further information, please contact:
Manager, Marketing and Communications, SCMP.com
Tel: (852) 2250 3128
Fax: (852) 2565 2429