After a lot of planning and preparation, today we launch UCAN Premium Content. It will be available only to paying subscribers. It will feature unique content and the first of it will be posted today.

It is difficult to exaggerate how important this first step in attracting paying subscribers is to all our futures at UCAN. We have to generate more income from our own publishing work. We have 300,000 visits to our sites each month and the only people paying us to do it are our European and American benefactors. That income source is declining and has been for some years. Asia is now the economic hub of the world and many dioceses in Asia are among the wealthiest in the world.

This launch of Premium Content today is part of a process that will culminate in a full-on joint venture with the biggest Catholic newspaper publisher in the world – Bayard Presse in Paris. We are negotiating with them to supply the editorial services for their flag ship – La Croix – in English and online for the first time ever. This week we will have a trial using Global Pulse Magazine for five days beginning Wednesday with mostly material from La Croix translated into English.

But next week I will be in Kerala with our developers, Tranzmedia, to begin the development of the joint venture, paying subscriber only publication – Urbi et Orbi Asia. We will roll UCAN Premium Content into that as soon as we reach agreement with the French which should be later this month or early in May. and once the site is ready

Urbi et Orbi Asia will be part of a family of sites and newsletters that already exist or are in development in three languages. The parent publication owned by Bayard is already published in French and has three sections – news of importance to Catholics from Rome, France and the wider world.

There is Urbi et Orbi for Francophone Africa already operating. Urbi et Orbi Anglophone Africa will be the subject of discussions I will have in two weeks in Johannesburg and then in Paris with the main person involved from Johannesburg, Fr. Russel Pollitt SJ. He and I go to Paris for a meeting with Bayard on April 25. Urbi et Orbi in Spanish is the subject of planning by Bayard and discussions have already begun with potential partners for an Urbi et Orbi for Nth. America.

I hope you share my sense of excitement at these developments calculated to make UCAN sustainable. But I can’t stress enough how important it is that each national office pulls its weight as we strive to make UCAN a sustainable and even more relevant international service of the Catholic Church.

Best wishes, MICK

Fr. Michael Kelly SJ

Executive Director

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