E-commerce is a challenging new market where a publisher can directly meet the audience through digital channels, says Hardanto Subagyo, business director for Kompas. It also provides a broad opportunity to market new journalistic products derived from traditional news products.

To take advantage of this opportunity, Kompas developed its own online store selling an ePaper (kiosk.kompas.com). It also joined forces with large digital media stores that specialise in the mobile market, such as Scoop and Wayang Force, to market the Kompas ePaper to the Asian market, with plans to expand to worldwide distribution.

The KOMPAS e-commerce strategy consists of these key components:

  • Producing digital versions of the print edition (ePaper, news site, and mobile content).

  • Investigating the ability to market special digital content to mobile companies such as Samsung.

  • Creating a digital hub where KOMPAS can market, and at the same time meet its print audience digitally.

  • Experimenting with numerous digital payment services from a range of credible banks in Indonesia.

  • Developing a digital bridge containing e-mail and payment accounts of its audience.

  • Experimenting with numerous digital marketing strategies, including newsletter marketing.

Subagyo says that during this first year Kompas has implemented its e-commerce effort, it has seen positive results: “The number of digital sales is delightful. In terms of reaching digital audience, about 73,000 e-mail accounts are now registered as active users of our ePaper. It’s very promising.”

In fact, Kompas ePaper sales have been strong – there are 5,000 active users who pay for three-, six- or 12-month subscription packages. These users come directly from the Kompas online store, or from Scoop and Wayang Force. Everything, however, is done under the brand name Kompas, whether it comes through Scoop, Wayang Force, or Samsung.

“We make sure that their users know that the digital content they’re using comes from Kompas,” says Subagyo.

Kompas also avoids selling its digital version separately from the print version – they come as a package, with the exception of the mobile market handled by Scoop and Wayang Force. Customers of those partnerships pay a higher price than if they buy the digital/print package direct from the KOMPAS online store.

In the end, Subagyo says that the revenue is still in advertising, not e-commerce: “We believe that digital news media has not yet come to the level of print news media in terms of advertising revenue. We must preserve our print market while also reaching out for digital market. It’s a challenging task.”

For Kompas, the most important aspect of e-commerce is maintaining its audience: “We don’t see e-commerce as an ultimate tool to reach a new and bigger audience. Not yet. We strategically aim to serve our loyal print audience who are already actively using digital gadgets connected to Internet services.”