“Now you can access a full copy of Times of Zambia anytime, anywhere for only K2 per day” says an advertisement. They had us at anytime, anywhere. But wait… K2 per day?! Scratch the anytime, anywhere and let’s focus on the K2 per day for a little bit.
So the paper copy of Times of Zambia and pretty much every newspaper in the country costs K3; thus, we wonder how the electronic version of the paper costs K2? Perhaps the revenue goes to meeting web-hosting costs and domain registration fees. It is difficult to wrap our heads around paying not less than half the cost of a printed newspaper for the electronic version. Considering that there is no actual paper or ink nor printing press and many other equipment in the production of e-times. Unless, the newspaper is being manually scanned and then uploaded to the internet, K2 per day simply does not make sense.
Think of a simple newsletter. You go into Microsoft Office Publisher, PowerPoint or whatever software you use for your needs, load your template, copy and paste the articles, position the images, ads etc, hit publish and voila! You’ve got yourself an e-version of your whatever it is you are electronically publishing. In some instances like ours where it is web-publication, we just go onto our platform and hit publish once we are done writing and editing.
Fine, one might argue that this is a resourceful way to earn revenue and that Times of Zambia is being clever enough etc. However, at whose expense are they being clever? Let’s not forget that our Kwacha is plummeting at the speed that even a meteor can’t compete. In the best interest of Zambians, and not corporations, it is high time that businesses paid attention to how the economic situation affects everybody. It is understandable to want to capture a niche of the market, nonetheless, as a “State-Owned” paper, one would assume that the average Zambian’s pocket will be considered. Imagine if the cost was only K1, how many people would jump on it? If I recall correctly, Post Newspapers tried a similar thing about five years ago with accessing an electronic version of their paper only through subcription. Today, the Post Newspaper is freely and fully viewable online.
In all fairness, e-times is a brilliant idea. And the marketing is less than half-way there. A good number of people living in Zambia know about it because it is being advertised in the hardcopy version of the newspaper itself, therefore wider coverage. We tried to call the numbers provided in the advertisement to secure a TechTrends Zambia subscription but alas there was no response from the requested number!