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Mon, Feb 25, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Incompetence blamed for closure

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Liu Tu-hsing, president of Power News, leaves the paper's offices after a press conference on Thursday announcing the paper's closure.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

The Power News (勁晚報) evening newspaper last Thursday surprised the nation by shutting down after two-and-a-half years of circulation. Marketing analysts say the shut-down was caused by the management's inability to establish circulation channels, but former editors of the paper claim that the founder's unfamiliarity with journalism led to the closure.

The Hsiang Shan group established the Power News evening newspaper in 1999, after it invested in the Independence Evening Post (自立晚報) but failed to win the controlling rights of the newspaper.

Power News founder, Chiang Tao-sheng (江道生), promised to break even within three years, but decided to shut down the newspaper after a loss of up to NT$1.6 billion. Its managing-level editors had promised to make the paper better than rivals, the United Evening News (聯合晚報) and the China Times Express (中時晚報), with a unique editing style, colorful pages and punchy writing, but most quit before the Power News closed.

Rumors indicated that the Power News had lost NT$80 million to NT$90 million every month since it started publishing, and marketing experts said that the losses were caused by a lack of circulation channels.

"The newspaper's inability to establish its circulation channels resulted in its closure," said Chai Chung-chin (翟仲勤), a senior media buyer.

The Power News had suffered many setbacks in the establishment of its circulation channels. It alleged that its two rival newspapers, the United Evening News and the China Times Express, obstructed its process of establishing circulation channels.

According to statistics from advertising agencies, circulation of the United Evening News and the China Times Express are 250,000 each. The Power News' circulation was claimed to be 200,000, and the Independence Evening Post's circulation was about 150,000.

Chen Chi-fang (陳季芳), the former deputy executive editor of the Power News who left the newspaper last August, said that Chiang's management style was the main reason for the closure, and that it had nothing to do with Taiwan's media market.

"We tried to produce a different evening newspaper, but the idea was not accepted by the newspaper's management. Senior editors from other newspapers even commented that we were qualified enough for daily newspaper printing. It just needs time and patience," Chen said.

Chen also said that Chiang rose to fame and wealth through starting a successful kindergarten chain, but that this doesn't mean that he is a qualified media operator.

"He deeply believes that effective financial and administrative management would result in good newspaper production, but something else is more important to make a new newspaper, such as style and the establishment of a good reputation," Chen said.

The Power News is not the first paper to fold in the last six months. The Independence Evening Post was shut down at the end of last year.

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