The Saturday Senken

Magazines and newspapers in Japan are suffering as advertising budgets continue to shrink.

In the past 12 months, quite a number of long-standing titles disappeared in the world of glossies and rumours were abound that the former Editor in Chief of Marie Claire Japan resigned because she was unable to hit the advertising budget after some estimates put a 40% cut in advertising dollars by luxury brands in Japan not due to the downturn of the economy, but because they were redistributing that money to mainland China.

So it came as no surprise for the Senken Shimbun to announce that they will stop issuing their Saturday edition in physical, paper format. Instead, they asked the subscribers register to receive the Saturday Senken as an email, and by the way, the monthly subscription price is the same. "We thank you in advance for your kind understanding" the letter from the management said.

But what is really cool is that one can now opt in to receive the following day's headlines via mobile email in the evening. They also send breaking news - like the announcement that Yohji Yamamoto is filing for protection from creditors with a 6.0 billion yen debt, or that Fast Retailing announced a new record profit for the quarter - as they are filing it.

They have managed to turn their very antiquated format into something that takes advantage of the Japanese way of using mobile/pc emails as well as paper. Their site still looks very static and is in need of work, but I love this email and mobile email service. It is nothing fancy, but who needs bells and whistles to receive the breaking news and the next day's headlines?

I really hope that leading trend sites that charge several hundred times the Senken for an annual subscription who send the translated version of the day's headlines at 15:00 take note of this and work harder!