When a ship runs aground, a team of experienced salvors, surveyors and mariners come together to ensure that she is safely refloated and either sent to the dry dock for repairs or scuppered at sea. During this time, the public is kept abreast of the progress and made aware of any potential environmental danger that the casualty poses to the marine environment. Behind the scenes a host of inter-agency and inter-departmental decision-making is taking place and a cohesive statement of details is presented to ensure that the relay of factual information is continuously available.
We ran aground and ignored some of this protocol.
With one of the biggest assets in our fleet temporarily aground – the printed version of the magazine – we have attempted to continue to operate in a “business as usual” way without the proper communication and acknowledgment of the true nature of the situation. While we have managed to continue on some levels, the grounding can no longer be ignored.
The tide is turning, however, and we are seeing signs that we can achieve a successful refloat and avoid scuppering our valuable asset.
Nautical terminology aside, we are in the process of ensuring that Maritime Review does not become another maritime media statistic that joins several major titles that have closed in recent years around the globe.
It is time to communicate properly in this regard as well as outline our plan going forward. The hard facts that we cannot ignore are that, as a magazine that relies solely on advertising budget to survive, we have to tweak our business model. The reality is that many companies are struggling and simply do not have the marketing budget that they had in the past – and are looking at other ways to maximise their own spend.
The majority of our content has always been free to the industry, and we are still aiming to continue to offer this service, but we will be developing premium content that will only be available to subscribers.
Our printed magazine remains a central point of our brand, but times have changed. Much of our audience now consumes content digitally. We are competing with citizen journalists who can record and release “news” as it unfolds in front of them. We are competing with social media that costs many companies very little to access and disseminate their own content.
As such it is the printed magazine that has hit the hard ground. Quite simply, we have not been able to print the first issue yet. That’s the reality. That’s the ship aground.
But we are implementing a decisive plan and want our public to be aware of how we intend managing the process going forward.
Issue One – which is currently still in production will be released purely as a digital version. It has been impacted not only by the decrease in marketing budget available, but also now by the situation in the country that has rocked distribution channels. Although severely impacted by these realities, this issue includes some amazing content that we do not simply want to scupper.
As such, we have upgraded our online hosting plan to help us create a richer audience experience of the magazine and allow for detailed engagement analysis. Our new hosting plan allows for the inclusion of video and audio within the online magazine. We are excited about the opportunities that this could offer us and our clients.
In addition, we will pursue all avenues to ensure that we reach the same audience and more. This will serve as the testing ground for our pursuit of whether we convert completely to online delivery in 2022 or not.
Currently we are still aiming to print the remaining three issues of the year after releasing Issue One digitally, but will curate the online experience making it richer than the printed version as we move forward.
Our content themes for the remainder of the year are as follows:
- Issue 2: Marine Engineering and the Offshore Sector
- Issue 3: Ports, Harbours and Related services
- Issue 4: Safety, Security and Incident response
Our aim needs to be to remain a trusted source of relevant, analytical, in-depth content that is accessible to stakeholders in the maritime industry.
In the meantime, we are also in the process of updating and upgrading the magazine’s official website. The new Buyers Guide is almost ready to be revealed.
We are also working on getting back On The Quayside to talk to the long list of interesting maritime people that we have compiled.
We note too the need for closer collaboration with the industry we serve and acknowledge the irony of some of the previous admonishing we have dealt out towards other stakeholders in this regard.
Just recently we did collaborate to create a song tribute on the International Day of the Seafarers which is now actually being refined by a new band to add percussion, base and viola. We have also taken the lyrics from the song to create merchandise (T-shirts and Shopper Bags) to help fundraise for the GBOBA Bursary Fund.
So is the vessel afloat? Well, not entirely – but it is a long way from being scuppered. Please do get in touch and join our team of salvors to ensure that we keep maritime journalism alive on the continent.