Things are afoot at Forty South Publishing. Tasmania 40°South, the glossy magazine that has entertained and informed the world’s Tasmania-lovers for a quarter of a century, is going digital. This is not a small transition. We are about to build a major Tasmanian content portal on a high-end digital publishing platform.

This project was made possible by funding from the Australian Government, through the Australian Communications and Media Authority, under the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. The purpose of the grant is to support regional publishers to adapt to the digital age and compete more successfully in the evolving media environment.

The new Forty South web portal will allow us to carry a great deal more content than we can in the pages of a quarterly magazine. It will be an online extension of the magazine, rather than a digital version of the magazine itself. It will be hugely attractive for anyone interested specifically in things Tasmanian, and generally in good writing and good photography delivered via informative and entertaining feature articles.

The physical magazine will continue, and it will not change, except that it will now have a big brother bearing the same family name. Advertising potential on this content-laden web portal will be substantial, with enhanced Forty South brand awareness creating a positive flow-on effect for the magazine. The web portal is now in the development phase with the hope of going live early in the second half of this year.

We’re determined that the web portal will be an extension of the magazine in terms of our fundamental premise of good writing on Tasmanian themes. But the portal will allow one huge change: we can deliver time-sensitive material. With the magazine, we had to imagine someone in a medical waiting room somewhere picking up a five-year-old copy and being able to read every article without thinking “that’s changed” or “that’s no longer true”. With the portal, however, we can cover developing issues because we can always take the story down again if it becomes irrelevant or redundant.

We have one new full-time staff member and multiple consultants working with us in the areas of web development, project management, branding, advertising and promotion, and all those acronym areas like CMS, SOE and CRM. It’s a big project!