Published on December 18, 2007
There was plenty happening all over Bangkok as day gave way to dusk last Wednesday but the night clearly belonged to the pre-launch bash of XPRESS, the Nation Group's latest publication, which will be Thailand's first free, big-circulation English-language newspaper when it debuts next March.
For the 300 or so guests from advertising agencies, companies and other organisations who packed the Conrad Hotel's Grand Ballroom, it was certainly an evening to remember.
Cool jazz, a warm ambience and the hot orange decor simultaneously soothed and excited the young and trendy - as well as the young at heart - at the party.
XPRESS is firing up imaginations in more ways than one if this pre-launch party was anything to go by. A newspaper that serves the interests and needs of people in their 20s and early 30s, it will be eye-catching and rich in interesting content. It's a state-of-the-art innovation that Thailand's Generation X - and Y - deserve free of charge as their daily dose of inspiration.
And innovation lay at the heart of this "orange, black and white" party. Dr Mario Garcia, the international consultant behind the design of more than 400 newspapers, outlined how people today prefer to consume multi-platform media. He explained how, as the clock ticks through the day, people use their mobiles to access breaking news, before turning to the Internet to deal with various tasks. They also read tabloid-size newspapers such as XPRESS as part of their daily routine.
Thanachai Theerapatvong, chairman of Nation Multimedia Group, stressed that the Thai English-language newspaper market was ready for this free sheet, which has a clearly identified market niche, a lifestyle approach to news and a mass-market appeal that will serve advertisers well. "Once again, we're opening up a new era for the media industry," he declared.
DJ Andy, the emcee for the evening, entertained the audience with a musical equivalent to leafing through the pages of XPRESS. In his signature sunglasses and cap, he looked ready to burst into a fit of rapping at any moment. Then XPRESS finally arrived in person as copies were distributed to the guests.
Pages were turned and grins were ignited. "Yes, this is it," said one guest. "Can you come out sooner?" quipped another.
Four young celebrities were invited on to the stage to give their first impressions of XPRESS.
Sutassanee Kunpalin, Korn Narongdej, Chailadol Chokwattana and Changnoi Kulchorn na Ayutthaya, who are typical of the readers the new paper is targeting, were enthusiastic not just about the format, but the entire concept, declaring XPRESS "their thing" for its treatment of the news and ability to fit in with their fast-paced ultra-mobile lifestyle.
Tulsathit Taptim, the editor of XPRESS, confirmed that the newspaper was being launched precisely for this group of readers. He was very encouraged by the responses from young executives at the party.
Guests left enthusiastic and looking forward to the launch party in March. Nation chairman Thanachai also hinted at a post-launch bash. Stay tuned!
XPRESS will be Thailand's first free English-language daily newspaper with an audited circulation of 100,000 copies. It will be available in more than 4,000 locations in Bangkok and other major cities.