By Mark Louis F. Ferrolino, Special Features Writer
ONE BY ONE, publishers around the world are shutting down as newspaper sales continue to decline. Amid this gloomy headline, is the print industry likewise seeing its impending demise?
Not in the case of BusinessWorld Publishing Corp., which started in the era of hot lead, typewriters and telegraphs. It continues to thrive in the digital age as a multimedia and multiplatform news source. Through all the changes it has faced, BusinessWorld’s legacy of professional business and economic journalism stands through time.
News consumption is undergoing a fundamental shift. News, which has historically been distributed through print and radio, is now accessible by consumers via mobile devices, right at their fingertips. People, especially the younger generations, may not be reading newspapers as often, but they are still finding out more news and trends at a faster speed though the Internet and social media networks.
MORE THAN JUST A PAPER
This massive digital transformation has brought a strong impact to the entire media landscape, leaving traditional companies behind, especially the print.
In light of all the changes, BusinessWorld has retained and strengthened its position in the industry. The 31-year-old business daily continues to stay relevant and ahead of the curve as it keeps its flagship newspaper alive, embraces latest digital innovations, and hosts valuable events that tackle pertinent issues in the business scene. BusinessWorld’s excellent business journalism has also reached the Philippine television screens as being part of the new local news channel, One News.
“BusinessWorld is no longer just a newspaper. BusinessWorld few years now has genuinely a multimedia, multiplatform company. But most importantly, we have retained and strengthened our position as the oldest and living business news and information provider for and in the Philippines,” said BusinessWorld Editor-in-Chief Roby Alampay.
In the past years, the BusinessWorld newspaper went through a few facelifts. From having a content-heavy front page, it now includes infographics that present data in an eye-catching and easily digestible format. Also, considering how smartphones have become a convenient medium for the readers to consume news, the paper also features QR codes that help readers easily access the full story of some articles on its Web site.
Mr. Alampay believes that newspapers remain relevant. There is a segment of the market that still prefers to consume news in a printed format, he said.
Miguel G. Belmonte, PhilStar Media Group and BusinessWorld president and chief executive officer, shared the same sentiment. He said that even in the first-world countries, who have a more advance technology like United States and countries in Europe, newspapers still exist. Citing the neighbors — China, Korea and Japan — as another example, Mr. Belmonte said that there are still newspapers in these countries, and have a circulation of more than a million copies per day.
“What more for a country like ours, where in terms of technology we’re somewhat behind them?” Mr. Belmonte said. “Definitely, newspapers, the way we know it as a diyaryo or physical newspaper, is still relevant here. We still have a big market.”
In addition to this, newspapers, he said, remain a reliable source of information, especially in this era of “fake news.” BusinessWorld, with its broad spectrum of business and economic international and local news, columns, features, and special reports, provides accurate and in-depth stories that policy makers and businessmen can rely on in making decisions.
Meanwhile, bworldonline.com, the company’s first foray in the digital world and was the first news Web site in the country, underwent many upgrades. Last year, in line with its 30th anniversary, BusinessWorld launched its redesigned Website, which is more user-friendly, and emphasizes photos, videos and infographics. To be more engaging with readers, it occasionally creates microsites of special coverages, like the ASEAN summit in 2017.
According to PhilStar Media Group Executive Vice President Lucien C. Dy Tioco, BusinessWorld’s content is now easily accessible through several digital initiatives it has implemented. He said that since the launch of the Web site, BusinessWorld’s social engagement has been more active.
THE NEXT GENERATION
To address the needs of business-minded millennials — who are known as digital natives and make up the biggest part of the market — BusinessWorld introduced a digital-first platform called SparkUp.
SparkUp engages the new generation of business leaders through its Web site and print magazine issues that bring timely and well-rounded stories, creatively executed in more customize and fun ways. It also holds events with the aim to empower the young go-getters in transforming their aspirations into reality.
“SparkUp allows us to bring in the new and emerging generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. It is not just about attracting younger readers, SparkUp allows us to not only be younger but also more relevant for the fast-changing times,” Mr. Alampay said. “It is not just about going digital, SparkUp also allows us to keep a pulse and keep abreast of the changing environment, changing practices, changing structures in human resource, changing work preferences and behavior, even changing regulations.”
Realizing forum and events as a profitable venue for the company, as well as in strengthening its brand and image, BusinessWorld ventures into conducting valuable events, such as the BusinessWorld Stock Market Roundtable and the annual BusinessWorld Economic Forum. These events serve as a great avenue for industry and government leaders to converse on key challenges and opportunities for the nation.
Mr. Dy Tioco said that forum and events being conducted by BusinessWorld is a validation of the kind of stature and capability that it can bring, especially in putting the spotlight on more important issues that the business community should be talking about.
“We were able to create an avenue where pertinent issues could be really discussed,” Mr. Dy Tioco said. “It’s different from other business forum because it’s tightly packed, it’s a day worth of learning because you really hear a lot of speakers.”
Moving forward, BusinessWorld is slowly establishing a strong foothold in the cable television as it was included in the integration of the most trusted media organizations in the country under one channel, One News.
One News is the premier news channel of Cignal TV that features original and local content, ranging from news, public affairs and business. Its programs, among others, are Rush Hour, BusinessWorld Live, The Big Story and The Chiefs.
BusinessWorld personalities, including Mr. Alampay and reporters, contribute their expertise in some of the said programs. These, together with the strengths and capabilities of The Philippine Star, TV5 and Bloomberg TV Philippines, make One News an enviable powerhouse.
“Our participation in One News now brings us to cable television and to being leading news provider on the airwaves,” Mr. Alampay said.
Over the past years, BusinessWorld has carefully developed a stable of offerings that provide the market with an all-around media experience. And in the future, Mr. Belmonte said that whatever direction the company is heading to, it will be always in line with the vision of its founder Raul L. Locsin.
“The late Raul Locsin is a very proud man with very high standards, and the BusinessWorld is his legacy. And even he’s no longer with us, still, we owe it to him as the founder, to maintain the good and proud name of the BusinessWorld,” Mr. Belmonte said.