Singapore parent company decides to close publisher

Asia-Pacific Boating magazine, one of the main dedicated publications for the marine leisure industry in Asia, is to cease publication at the end of this month with the closure of Blu Inc Media, the Hong Kong-based publisher of the title. Blu Inc Media is a subsidiary of Singapore-based SPH Group (Singapore Press Holdings).

In a brief statement, the publisher said: “Blu Inc Media (HK) Ltd has decided to cease operations on October 28, 2019, including ceasing the publication of its six titles, Asia-Pacific Boating, AsiaSpa, Action Asia, JET Asia-Pacific, China Boating and LP Luxury Properties.”

Asia-Pacific Boating magazine started in 1976 and its closure also means the loss of the Asia Pacific Boating Awards, which were established in 2005 and for the last few years have been held at the same time as the Singapore Yacht Show. China Boating magazine was closed over a year ago.

Little has been said about the reasons for the closure. A statement had been requested from SPH but it had not been issued by press time. A media observer in Hong Kong suggested that the demise of Blu Inc Media had been likely for some time.

The growth of online advertising compared to print is seen as a factor and the frequency of a number of the Blu Inc titles had lessened in recent years. It is understood that Asia-Pacific Boating was seen as the strongest title in the group and that it had been a key part of the company continuing operation. There has not been any suggestion that the Hong Kong protests played a role in the closure. It is believed that around 15 people will be affected by the closure.

Asia-Pacific Boating was one of the first magazines in the region to target the Asian audience,” Lawrence Chow, chair of the Hong Kong Boating Industry Association, told IBI. “Established in Hong Kong in 1976, the magazine helped to grow of the luxury boating market. This historic title has made a valuable contribution to the pleasure boating industry over the last 43 years.”

SPH Magazines, a wholly owned subsidiary of media group Singapore Press Holdings, acquired all the luxury magazines owned and published by Adkom Ltd in late 2007. In a statement about the acquisition SPH said: “The proposed acquisition of the titles, which is being made through wholly owned Blu Inc Media (HK), includes the transfer of all other businesses, assets and benefits related to the publishing of the magazines. The total consideration is about S$23.2m.”

It added: “The acquisition of the titles will immediately extend SPH Magazines’ reach in the North Asia market and fortify its position in the Asia Pacific region as a major magazine publisher.”

A marketing executive in a Hong Kong-based company who wished not to be named commented to IBI: “The loss of Asia Pacific Boating magazine will be a loss to the region’s industry. It has played a role in helping to put the Asia Pacific region on the map by providing a record of the events held in this growing regional market.”

The loss of Asia-Pacific Boating means that the region’s marine leisure sector now has two mainstream, English-language, internationally distributed titles – Yacht Style published by Lux Inc Media in Asia, and Ocean by Ocean Media in Australia. In addition, there are a number of smaller more local publications or online services, some in English and some in other languages, serving individual markets or groups of markets.