Oriental Daily to go fully digital, impending job cuts reported

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Local Chinese-language newspaper Oriental Daily is reportedly ceasing print on 16 April to become fully digital. Quoting its editor-in-chief Ding Lee Leong, Malay Mail reported that the company is also cutting "at least 60 employees". Oriental Daily declined to comment on A+M's queries.

The decision to go fully digital comes close to 19 years after it first began printing in September 2002. Last year, the newspaper ceased its weekend edition on 1 May and reduced its price from RM1.20 to RM0.60. Its weekday editions, however, carried on printing from Mondays to Fridays. According to Bernama TV Chinese in a Facebook post previously, Oriental Daily explained that this was part of its company's transformation plan.

In 2007, Oriental Daily became the first Chinese-language daily in the nation to print in a compact size. According to its website, Oriental Daily described itself to be "the fastest growing Chinese-language newspaper in Malaysia" with a daily circulation rate of more than 146,000. The newspaper is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and owned by KTS Group based in Sarawak. Is sister publications include See Hua News Daily and The Borneo Post.

Oriental Daily follows in the footsteps of Malay Mail, which went fully digital on 1 December 2018. Editor-in-chief Wong Sai Wan said previously that the move was "a change of business direction", adding that the company was "going into the full gamut of the digital business from content to marketing".

He also told A+M in 2018 that it intends to acquire new assets and form alliances to enable it to compete and trade with a higher readership. Weeks after the announcement was first made in October 2018, Malay Mail rolled out a Chinese-language news portal, Cincai News, in November covering everything from politics and lifestyle to food. Cincai News was previously hosted on www.malaymail.com as a sub-section known as MMOC. Similarly Sin Chew Daily also stopped printing its night edition on 30 March last year and The Edge Financial Daily also ceased print on 21 April.

Like many countries, the print medium in Malaysia has suffered a hit ever since the proliferation of digital. Malaysian publishing company Blu Inc Media, for example, folded last April, ceasing both its print and digital publications. CEO Azliza Tajuddin explained in a letter to employees that the business has already been under “tremendous challenge from digital disruption” over the past few years. The Movement Control Order also impacted its business.

Meanwhile, Media Prima reported a 31% decline in publishing revenue for the financial year 2020 due to lower newspaper advertising and circulation sales. Star Media Group also saw a RM17.15 million dip in revenue for print and digital in 2020.

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