It’s no secret that print has struggled in recent years as digital products muscled in to steal chunks of consumer’s time and advertising dollars. But many magazine and newspaper publishers remained loyal to their print products, arguing that they still hold a vital role in the media landscape. Forecasters are also now predicting a return to revenue growth for print magazines after several years of decline. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, in 2015 the magazine industry will record 0.2 per cent year-on-year growth as overall digital gains outweigh falling print revenue. In 2018, total magazine revenue will reach US$98.1 billion, up from US$97.1 billion in 2013.
Prior to co-founding Billionaire, Christian Barker worked on a number of print launches; he was founding editor-in-chief of men’s publication The Rake and one of the founding editors of Asian men’s lifestyle magazine August Man.
Why have you decided to launch a print magazine?
Digital media tends to take a more instant, bite-size editorial approach, whereas print magazines have more flexibility for extensive, detailed editorial and imagery that online portals aren’t able to provide. The objective of the magazine is to provide our readers with a beautifully crafted and tangible product—reflecting the perfectionism of the goods and services we feature—that offers an engaging and memorable reading experience.
Why did you decide to base the magazine out of Singapore?
Singapore is a key marketplace for the truly wealthy and discerning consumer. It is an Asian hub for luxury and a global center of wealth—both a generator of wealth and a mecca for high net-worth individuals from around the world. A crossroads between east and west, it’s the ideal place to base this business.
Can you describe the target reader?
The magazine targets an extremely elite and niche market in Singapore and Southeast Asia—our reader is truly wealthy, tasteful, international and well travelled.
Unlike our bi-annual coffee-table book, which is global, the monthly magazine will meet demand for a publication focused towards a Singapore and Southeast Asian audience. The magazine will be distributed via controlled circulation to Singapore’s wealthiest residents, plus high net-worth individuals and affluent professionals, and will also be available on newsstands in Singapore. There is strong demand for this type of magazine and many advertisers still value print spend over online. Our print run is 10,000 and we expect a readership of 30,000.
What type of content can we expect to see?
The magazine will reflect the Billionaire brand core focuses of authentic luxury, craftsmanship, and social conscience. Our motto is ‘’The Good Life, A Good Life’’, bringing together luxury and philanthropy. Some 25 to 40 per cent of the content will be focused on Singapore and Southeast Asia, with the rest covering topics from around the world. In the first issue, readers can expect a mixture of luxury travel, fashion, business and lifestyle content with a feature highlighting the best new timepieces revealed at Geneva’s SIHH watch fair in January. Singapore is one of the top watch consuming countries in the world with a huge appetite and appreciation for luxury timepieces.
What's your view on the future for print magazines?
While we do believe that digital is the future, and have invested enormously in our online and upcoming tablet editions, there’s a strong place in the market for print magazines and we believe there will be for some time. There definitely continues to be enormous demand from luxury brands for space in print titles. Our aim with Billionaire Magazine is to provide an alternative reading format which ultimately complements our website, helps drive traffic and creates a synergy across all of our media platforms.
Who are your main competitors?
We don’t see any direct competition to Billionaire as we created the publication to fill a niche in the market. Billionaire is a stand-out magazine for the truly wealthy, delivering content across all genres of luxury. It isn’t exclusively a fashion, gourmet, arts/culture, travel or society magazine, or specifically directed at a male or female reader.
How have advertisers responsed?
There has been a consistent demand from advertisers globally, but an even bigger demand for Southeast Asia specifically. We expect this demand to be ongoing and robust.
Can you explain more about the brand value and philanthropy?
Philanthropy is close to our hearts, and we are pleased to provide ongoing support to numerous charitable organisations and passionate philanthropists. Our motto "The Good Life, A Good Life’’ is reflected throughout our editorial—founded on the belief that we all should live well and give back, and that luxury and philanthropy can go hand in hand.
Billionaire Magazine launches in March 2015, with a cover price of S$10.90.