Malaysian magazine publisher goes all in for digital, launches six titles into Apple's Newsstand, promises Android apps soon

The Malaysian publisher of popular magazine tiles such as Style, FHM and Car has changed its name to Astro Digital Publications as it dedicates itself to digital formats.

“With immediate effect, we are now known as Astro Digital Publications,” Henry Tan announced yesterday. “The world of publications is changing rapidly. Digital publications like ours will open up a new world of exciting possibilities for consumers and advertisers alike.”

Car-ADP-coverThe publisher currently has six magazine titles inside the Malaysian Apple Newsstand under its old name of Astro Publications Sdn Bhd: Style, Car, InTrend, FHM, Men’s Uno and iFeel (because of trademark conflict, they are not seen inside the U.S. Newsstand).

Tan is making a big bet on digital publications, believing that the market penetration for smartphones and tablets has reached a point where advertisers will find the market attractive.

“We’re making a modest assumption that over 60% of Astro households own smartphones or tablets. Assuming that two individuals of each of these households read our magazines, we have the estimated collective readership of four million quality consumers, thus making Astro Digital Publications potentially the largest distributed digital platform in the country,” Tan said.

In addition to the existing and planned Apple Newsstand apps for iPhone and iPad, ADP is planning on launching Android versions by early summer. The publisher will not be shuttering its print magazines, however, seeing the new digital editions as complimentary to their new interactive digital editions.

“Dedicated magazine readers would always want the physical feel of a print magazine … and I am confident it would enlarge rather than cannibalise the reader base. It’s actually a complementary experience,” said ADP chief operating officer Sree Pathmanathan.