The Beijing Times announced on Sunday that it would stop publication from January the 1st of 2017 due to a “severe financial deficit”. It will merge into the Beijing Daily Group, a state media organization which runs nine other newspapers.
The official explanation is that despite The Beijing Times making an effort to keep up with the momentum of new media in the digital world, it failed. How to go digital is a challenge that media around the world is facing.
Established in 2001, the Beijing Times is a daily newspaper with RMB 3.32 billion (USD 486 million) in market value, according to its website. With over 70% of the morning newspaper market share in Beijing, it also runs 11 weeklies, among which is the electronic weekly founded in 2012. Additionally, it spent much effort running Weibo and WeChat official accounts to gather a new generation of readers.
One thing for sure is that the Beijing Times was successful on Weibo, having attracted 9.64 million users as of now.
To the newspaper’s staff, it has been shocking to see the announcement, posted on the Weibo and WeChat accounts. Many posted on Weibo that they didn’t learn about the official decision any earlier than the public.
It is said that the current staff at the Beijing Times have been promised to be arranged with new occupations and job opportunities. Many staff replied to the offers, saying that they refused to accept any arrangements when they have questions and doubts that remain unanswered. They demanded that the decision makers offer them a detailed explanation before Wednesday.
Nevertheless, the Beijing Times’ case is casting a shadow over the future of traditional media and how they can survive in the digital age.
(Top photo from Jisc.ac.uk)