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Print publication meltdown reaches the Philippines

By now, you must have heard about the news that several big and centuries-old newspapers in the U.S.
Written by Joel D. Pinaroc, Contributor and  Melvin G. Calimag, Contributor

By now, you must have heard about the news that several big and centuries-old newspapers in the U.S. are in danger of closing down. Of course, there were some that have already ceased operating or have gone digital or online.

The big leaguers, so to speak, that I'm referring to are the 150-year-old Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the 137-year-old Boston Globe, which are currently evaluating their options amid falling advertising revenues and print circulation.

That dreadful situation is not--at least, not yet--happening for newspapers in the Philippines. As accurately noted by Red Samar, my editor at the Manila Bulletin, unlike in the U.S. where every state has multiple newspapers, the Philippines has just a few broadsheets that serve the entire nation. Furthermore, a huge part of the country does not have access yet to the Internet, so people still get their news from the print media.

It is different, however, in the case of glossy magazines, particularly foreign-owned franchise tech magazines. About four or five years ago, a local media group bought the rights to publish a Philippine version of the U.K.-based Stuff magazine. The venture didn't turn out well and the magazine soon disappeared from local bookstores.

This April was also supposed to be the last issue of the Philippine edition of T3 magazine, another U.K.-based title. Admittedly suffering from the financial crunch, the local publishing group initially planned to completely halt its publication and to shift online. In fact, it shed more than half its headcount.

But, maintaining a Web site carrying T3 in its title presented some problems, so the local publishing group decided to just retain the printed version, which will now come out instead three times a year.

My CyberPress colleague, Elijah Mendoza, who is deputy managing editor of T3 Magazine sent a heads-up on Apr. 2 to clarify some issues. "T3 magazine Philippines is not shutting down. Summit Media will be publishing the magazine three times in a year, every year. The three issues are yet to be determined, but will [be released] in summer, mid-year, and Christmas," he wrote.

Mendoza said: "The magazine will be bigger with significantly different content." The magazine's Web site, will now become the "new core of T3", and that it will be re-launched shortly.

Reaction Jinny Jacaria, the amiable girl handling the PR work for Intel Microelectronics Philippines, wrote in to comment on the WiMax topic I wrote about in this blog last week. I had discussed how surprised I was to hear that Intel did not know Globe had introduced its WiMax service in the country, considering they were partners in its pilot four years ago.

Jinny sent this explanation: "I agree, it was a serendipitous coincidence that Globe announced their commercial offering that same day! We weren't informed about it or who they partnered with, but rest assured, Intel doesn't compete with ZTE or Huawei as we're not a telecom equipment manufacturer. Intel is [not] in the CPE (customer premises equipment) business, although Intel silicon is found in various WiMax-enabled devices. All in all, we're happy WiMax is finally on its way here in our side of the globe, (no pun intended)."

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