Agenices "glazed eyed" on digital publishing

Asia City Media Group country manager Greg Crandall is shocked by how slow ad agencies are to embrace digital publishing, despite a huge shift in reader behavior.

Since launching its tablet version of HK Magazine in January this year, Asia City Media Group said it has recorded some 9,000 downloads.

But Greg Crandall, country manager and group creative director at Asia City Media Group, believes ad agencies have failed to make any attempt to understand the new opportunities in tablet and mobile publishing.

HK Magazine has so far received strong advertiser support for its tablet edition, he said most of the work creating ads for brands has been done in-house.

"I'm shocked by how far behind these agencies are in the utilisation of this technology, half the time they look glazed eyed," he said.

"Hong Kong has the highest penetration rate of tablets in the world and these agencies still don't know how to approach it."

Earlier this Asia City secured a 52-issue advertising contract with Flight Centre and support from alcohol and watch brands has been strong.

I'm shocked by how far behind these agencies are in the utilisation of this technology.

Crandall said the average person spends 10.6 minutes interacting with tablets each session. "For us that says a lot. We can't get that sort of interaction on the website or from an EDM."

He adds it has some 9,000 subscriptions on its iPad edition after just six months, tablet versions are not for everyone.

"With HK Magazine, we have live gigs, live events and videos so the content is very complementary to a tablet platform. If people are reading a movie review they can watch the trailer immediately."

Already, custom publishing opportunities are surfacing and the group has created special editions such as the Hong Kong Galleries Guide 2013.

"We're not building a digital platform to replace readers, but tablet users are now a second demographic."