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OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily

Tim Newton

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OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | The Thaiger

Sad news yesterday when The Nation announced it was going to stop the daily publishing of its newspaper. After 48 years, The Nation Multimedia Group is shutting up shop on its daily newspaper.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected and is a decision that every newspaper has either already made, is constantly reviewing or will have to make in the future, probably soon. The Nation Multimedia Group’s CEO maintained that there would be no reductions in editorial staff. When these announcements are made there is always promises of a rosy online future and no reductions in staff. In reality there has to be a reduction in staff to make the transition from paper to online fiscally possible.

For The Nation it was somewhat of a perfect storm of problems that precipitated yesterday’s announcement to go online-only.

Thailand’s expat and english-speaking demographic is changing. The numbers of English-speaking expats is dropping (not a lot) but the numbers of non English-speaking expats is growing. The same is reflected in the tourist mix passing through the Kingdom these days. It’s just an evolutionary transition that’s also reflected in the nationalities buying property in Thailand.

A hard core of expats, some of The Nation’s devout readers, are also finding it increasingly difficult to stay in Thailand. Take a long-term British expat for example, living happily on their UK pension and spending long days by the beach. With the British pound plunging against the Thai baht the real cost of living has gone up, a lot, for many of these long-termers. Then add the steadily rising costs of living in Thailand and new requirements for long-stay visas and the long days at the beach are getting more expensive and more complex.

OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | News by The Thaiger

Then

The expat mix is also getting a lot younger. You guessed it, younger people are more inclined to read their news and seek information online.

Finally, the advertising revenue for newspapers is getting very thin on the ground. Newspaper advertising is expensive, non-intuitive and certainly not ‘real time’ as demanded by both readers and advertisers. Why would any sane business owner place an ad in their newspaper when, for a fraction of the cost, they can directly target THEIR buyers with an online ad. AND it’s totally measurable.

Just current economic conditions – a strong baht, falling exports and political uncertainty – are eating into business advertising spend and confidence as well.

There’s also a lot more choice for advertisers these days as the revenue creeps away from the old triumvirate of press, radio and TV. At the same time online platform traffic soars in numbers and new platforms and innovations get added every day.

OPINION: A sad, but inevitable, farewell to The Nation daily | News by The Thaiger

Now

The Nation’s daily paper is just another victim of the relentless technological march.

The people (me included) who used to make it a daily habit to trawl through the pages of the dailies are getting older, moving across to the online platforms, or simply dying or leaving Thailand. At the same time a few thousand smartphones will be bought today bringing almost instantaneous news to their screens, along with hundreds of choices of media, opinions, formats and, yes, advertisements.

The sight of people travelling on public transport, or walking around, heads buried in their screens is scary to us ‘old-timers’. But the smartphone, and to a lesser extent tablets, laptops and desktops, is where people will increasingly source just about everything they need to know. They will ‘choose’ what they want to read, not some editor’s view of the world or slanted choices of news to publish.

It’s a sad day when any venerable banner, like The Nation, has to cease publishing but we, the consumers, have determined their fate, and the fate of the remaining newspapers in Thailand, by making the move online. The publishers are adjusting to the new technology as well and following the new money-trail.

The Nation will publish its last daily newspaper on June 28.

The Thaiger has an editorial partnership with the Nation Multimedia Group.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Bangkok. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now CEO and writer for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He presented for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and provides stories for Feature Story News as the south east Asian correspondent.

Bangkok

6 month free trial for Bang Wa-Tha Chang ferry service, Bangkok

The Thaiger & The Nation

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6 month free trial for Bang Wa-Tha Chang ferry service, Bangkok | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS

A new route has been launched today between Bang Wa (Khlong Phasi Charoen) and Tha Chang (Chao Phraya River). The route has been announced by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Marine Department for a 6 month trial.

The boat service will be free of charge during its 6 month trial run and aims at providing new alternatives  for daily commuters. The new boat service is a part of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s initiative “Lor Rang, Reu” (Wheels, Tracks, Boats).

Thai PBS reports that four routes are not currently being serviced by private firms – the route between Bang Wa and Tha Chang piers, Hua Lampong and Devarajakunchorn temple piers, Sri Boonruang Temple and Paseo piers and the route between Bang Wa and Kamphaeng Temple piers.

The new ferry route starts at Bang Wa pier, near the BTS Bang Wa station, runs along Phasi Charoen canal, Bangkok Yai canal and into the Chao Phraya River. The boat stops at four piers – Intharam temple, Phra Phuttha Yodfa Bridge, Rajini and Tha Chang.

The service is available daily from 6-9am at 30 minute intervals and from 9am-7pm at 60 minute intervals.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Bangkok

Two Chinese and two Thais arrested over huge ‘ice’ haul

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Two Chinese and two Thais arrested over huge ‘ice’ haul | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

Authorities have intercepted a container carrying a tonne 11,000 kilograms) of crystal methamphetamine (ice) with a street value estimated around 2 billion baht, before it could leave the country.

Police also announced the arrest of suspects involved in the drug haul as Chinese nationals 24 year old Huang Guoxion and 44 year old Zhou Qingchu, along with Thais 57 year old Suban Manachanon and 62 year old Joi sae Fong.

The two Thais and Huang were arrested at a container yard in Chon Buri’s Sri Racha district on Saturday, while Zhou was tracked down to his condo in Bangkok’s Huai Kwang district.

The container was found stuffed with 612 boxes, 34 of which were filled with the drug disguised to look like tea bags, while the remaining boxes carried shoes.

The four suspects have been charged with having traffickable quantities of narcotics in their possession with intent to sell and have been handed over to the Narcotics Suppression Division for legal action.

This crackdown is part of the authorities’ efforts to tackle drug problems. At present, most prisons in the country house inmates held on drugrelated charges.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Bangkok

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market

The Thaiger

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Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | The Thaiger

Chinese condo buyers are veering their purchase power away from the Bangkok property market citing the strong Thai currency, overpricing and a supply glut.

  • 2015 – 5.8 Yuan to the Thai Baht
  • 2019 – 4.4 Yuan to the Thai Baht

Chinese move their purchase power away from Bangkok condo market | News by The Thaiger

The rise of the baht and the weakening of the Chinese Yuan over the past four years, have culminated in a 25% softening in Chinese investment power in the Thai property market (chart from xe.com)

Property consultants say that Chinese buyers are now containing their investment risk by buying into the lower-end 2-6 million baht condo market instead of the 5-10 million baht condos they were previously purchasing.

At the same time the annual returns for Bangkok condominiums is reported to have dropped from 6-7% five years ago to only 3-4% in some locations in the current market.

Speaking to the Bangkok Post, Simon Lee, President of property brokerage Angel Real Estate Consultancy, says overall sales volume of Bangkok condos bought by Chinese buyers will shrink by half in 2019.

He also notes that the current Thai government crackdown on investors renting out condos on daily or weekly leases, has scared a lot of new investment into the sector away  as the ‘law’ appears to be applied in a haphazard manner.

The Chinese investors are also expressing disappointment when they buy into a development at one cost, only to find that locals pick up the balance of the stock at a lower price as the developers clears the stock.

Bangkok’s soaring land prices, which should see the value of condos rise, is being balanced out with the sheer glut of stock available, pushing down values. Rental returns are also being pushed down by the volume of stock available to the rental market.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Here’s another report about signs of weakness emerging in the Bangkok condo market from The Thaiger.

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