SPH aims to be more than a print company - Jul 01, 2006 (BT)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH aims to be more than a print company

Jul 01, 2006
The Business Times

(SINGAPORE) It is difficult to get into overseas markets through core newspaper operations because of the way regulators restrict foreign media ownership, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) chairman Tony Tan said yesterday.

But SPH has managed to expand through magazines, outdoor advertising and the Internet, and will continue to invest to fulfil its vision of being 'much more than a print company operating largely in Singapore', he said.

Dr Tan said the challenge facing SPH is the same one that is facing all media companies today, that is, 'the converging media landscape where readers can access news and information whenever and wherever they like on various platforms like the Internet and the ubiquitous mobile devices'.

On an overseas delegation to media companies with major newspaper interests in the US and Europe earlier this month, 'we found all these companies wrestling with how to incorporate the Internet into their print business, with some in various phases of starting online newspapers and other services', he said.

SPH itself has launched several initiatives in the Internet arena in recent months, Dr Tan said.

For example, it expanded into online recruiting advertising with ST701, and also launched STOMP, a website aimed at encouraging interactivity with readers of The Straits Times, through mobile devices and the Internet.

It has also made SPH news available on mobile phones, PDAs and Blackberry devices for between $3 and $5 a month.

Meanwhile, SPH plans to replicate successful magazine titles in Singapore, such as Her World, Shape, The Peak, Men's Health and Maxim, in other countries around the region.

Her World is already found in Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand, Dr Tan noted.

The group also aims to be a major pan-Asian outdoor advertiser, which Dr Tan said is a 'natural extension' of the core print business as SPH 'can leverage on its marketing relationship with agencies and clients to sell outdoor advertising'.

SPH owns SPH MediaBoxOffice, as well as 35 per cent of Tom Outdoor Media Group, a large outdoor advertiser in China.

Dr Tan was speaking at the SPH scholarship presentation ceremony.

Ten recipients - including four overseas award recipients and six local award recipients - were selected this year, from a total of 539 applicants.

The journalists-to-be will study a range of subjects, including law, accountancy, biology and life sciences, international relations and English literature.