Dear readers and subscribers,
Please join me in acknowledging the hard work by The Australia Times (TAT) chief of staff, TAT editor in chief, media and photography directors, PR, HR, marketing, and advertising, managers, editors, deputy editors, sub editor, proof readers, photographers, writers, contributors, helpers and everyone else who either helped or offered to help in the past 20 odd months. It has been and is an amazing experience as well as a great privilege, working with our team to provide a great outcome for our subscribers and readers.
Please also join me in congratulating them on all that they have achieved to date and on the journey the have chosen to embark on for the future.
As you are aware, The Australia Times is constantly undergoing change. New major changes about to be experienced in the next few months include:
- More magazine titles,
- Brand new magazine reading software,
- A continuous improvement in quality on all levels,
- A special 12 issue, ANZAC Tribute, souvenir edition, and
- The implementation of our new TAT subscription policy.
By now you should be expecting more magazine titles. We have been steadily growing since that day in June 2013 when our first 6 magazines appeared. Expect to see several hundred magazines before we are done.
The brand new magazine reading software will usher a new era of interaction. We expect that by June at the very latest, subscribers will be able to comment interactively on the pages of all our magazines. They will be able to highlight a block of text, part of a photo, or part of any graphics, and comment on it. Multiple people will be able to comment on the same item. Readers could read the magazine with no highlighted text or with highlighted text indicating it has been commented on. When viewing with highlighted text one could view all comments or restrict viewable comments to just the last 100. This is the first instalment of the new Univex Flipbooker software. The software will be regularly upgraded and offer many more features over the next 3 years. And YES! You have read it right. Only subscribers will be able to comment.
Subscribers will need to be logged in to leave a comment, and these will be electronically (automatically) moderated. Subscribers can be temporarily, or permanently, blocked from commenting, depending on the offence and type of activity. Whilst we encourage subscribers to leave comments, and other subscribers ‘to comment on the comments,’ we do not anticipate major battles, the need for us to respond to every post, or intervene.
As you are no doubt aware there is continuous improvement in quality on all levels. This will continue throughout 2015 and beyond. We have declared 2015 to be the year of the reader. Our new software; a lift in content standards; more magazines offering entertaining, more useful information; a Final upgrade of our events site; and a free events and news app for subscribers; will all contribute to this effort.
Most significantly subscribers will begin to reap some benefits from their subscription.
- Free magazines
- Discounts in an ever increasing number of stores and online stores
- Comments on line
Another significant project is our special 12 issue ANZAC Tribute souvenir edition. After the 100th anniversary of the landing reaches a crescendo, most activities will cease. We would like to keep the legend alive, starting with our special 12 issue ANZAC Tribute souvenir edition. This may continue into the future beyond the 12 and may also result in one or more books.
For the first time we are inviting our subscribers to contribute to a project. If you are interested in participating in this project, or just interested in writing about a relative or a relative of a friend who died in the service of our country, we would like to hear from you. Deadlines during the 12 months are on the 15th day of each month. Ideally you should submit a story during the month it actually happened. e.g. if someone was awarded a medla during the month of September that story should be submitted on or before September 15th.
If you have an unusual collection of medals, memorabilia, weaponry, or the like, we would like to receive photos of these. Since, it is illegal to send weapons, or explosives (including grenades), by mail or courier AND tanks are not allowed to park down our street – Photos only please!
Our immediate short-term objectives are to strengthen each magazine in every way. We would like to lift content, maintain consistency, boost readership and subscription, and above all increase advertising. We need to do all these things to take TAT another notch forward, as we have declared 2015 to be the year of the reader. We are also keen to get TAT closer to the point where it can break even, make a profit, and pay the contributors a fair amount for their effort.
Perhaps this is a good time to take a moment to reiterate our long-term objectives as well. As we are all aware, not all is well in the world of journalism and traditional printed publications. Redundancies are continuing, profits and the number of published pages continue to shrink. Newspapers in particular, are under pressure because they have lost their main cash cow – the classifieds. Magazines are under pressure too. Younger people especially, are using mobile devices to read news, articles of interest, and even books. Due to costs and environmental concerns, the use of paper will not be sustainable long term. Print and paper industries are undergoing their fourth major technological change in 50 years. Publications that became institutions, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Grolier Encyclopedia, are now only available online.
Why are we here?
THE AUSTRALIA TIMES (TAT), and THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION (TIE), the soon to be published sister publication, are a bold pioneering move shaping as one facet of the future. We are an experiment in the future of journalism. An experiment, with sufficient flexibility to correct our course mid-journey, so we are able to make it to the end. We envisage a business model that will pay its contributors and will deliver a variety of free, low cost, and paid, magazines into the future.
Single website publications may or may not survive long term, we believe our model will. Through critical mass, as our readership grows, we will get more advertising and also create a paywall charging a modest fee. The original subscribers from subscriber No 1 to subscriber X will never ever pay to read TAT or TIE. Theirs is a free transferable subscription for the life or TAT and TIE. This is one reason I urge you all to subscribe now, as free subscription will not be open to all forever.
Our plan is that the specialty magazines we publish like OUTSIDE CHANGE for example http://www.outsidechange.com/ will continue to charge $7- $25 per issue, for subscription, depending on the value they offer readers. TAT and TIE will have cut off points for subscription levels. After the first cut-off point is reached, new subscribers only will pay $6 per annum. When the second cut-off point is reached, subsequent new subscribers only will pay $12 per annum and so on. So please subscribe during the next few weeks, and urge your friends and relatives to, if you have not already done so. Those readers who do not subscribe may have a rude awakening…
I wish you and yours a peaceful and reflective ANZAC Day. LEST WE FORGET!
David M. Abouav