Taiwan’s English-language media gets more digital

Taiwan News cover

This week saw two significant changes to Taiwan’s English-language newspapers. The first was the announcement by the Taiwan News on Tuesday that it would cease publishing a print edition and only be available online.

The paper, established in 1949 as the China News, changed its name to Taiwan News after it was purchased by the I-Mei Corporation in 1999. In January 2008 it changed from a broadsheet to a tabloid format. The final issue was published today. Here’s a quote from the Taiwan News’ own report:

During a press conference yesterday, Taiwan News President Jack Wong announced that the 62-year old newspaper is going digital.

“The unthinkable is finally upon us,” said Wong. “On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Taiwan News will launch the previously impossible integration of text, color images, and sound in a digital multimedia format. It will be the world’s first and log-on is for free.”

In response to the recent global trend toward digital publishing, Taiwan News has switched to an all-online format. “The whole world will witness an electronic newspaper that leaves all others behind in its digital technology and multi-media capabilities,” added Wong.

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Taiwan News goes tabloid

Taiwan News now tabloidWhen I went to buy a newspaper this morning I noticed the Taiwan News was in tabloid format. I did a quick Google search and found this CNA report which says they changed to the new format on 1 January.

I guess it may be a cost cutting measure. Twenty tabloid pages cost less to produce than sixteen broadsheet pages. It may also be seeking to differentiate itself from Taiwan's two other English-language newspapers. There has also been a worldwide trend in recent years for broadsheet newspapers to reduce their size — either to a narrower broadsheet format or tabloid size. 

The Taiwan News is one of three daily English-language newspapers in Taiwan. The other two are the Taipei Times and the China Post. I wonder how much longer Taiwan's market can continue to support three newspapers, particularly with the intense competition that newspapers now face from the internet. I usually only buy a newspaper a couple of times a week, but read them online everyday.