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Job adverts to go online at new SPH site - Mar 21, 2006 (ST)

BackMar 21, 2006

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Job adverts to go online at new SPH site

Aim is to capture slice of growing Internet classified ad market.

By Alfred Siew
Mar 21, 2006
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday said it would be sinking at least $10 million in a renewed push to capture eyeballs on the Internet.

It is moving into online job advertising, offering another platform for those looking for job openings, besides the classified advertisement pages across its 13 newspapers.

Called ST701, to reflect how a user can go seven days a week to one address for transactions, this e-marketplace will run head to head with rivals such as Jobstreet.com

Its edge: Advertisers can choose to use the print or online platforms, or both. It also has a search engine which promises to match employers and job seekers more effectively.

Its online address will be made public on Friday when the website goes live.

With the media company's renewed push for online content is a revamped AsiaOne website, the news portal for SPH newspapers.

Ready later this year, it will contain lifestyle features related to the daily cycle of 'live, work and play'. These will point to relevant parts of ST701, as well as newspaper sites like The Straits Times Interactive.

Internet surfers will find more motoring reviews, eating out guides and other lifestyle features on AsiaOne, which was first launched in June 1995. To connect to a Net-savvy audience, the website will also feature podcasts and vodcasts - audio and video clips that can be downloaded onto Apple iPod players or listened to offline.

SPH has traditionally been wary of putting its classifieds online, for fear of cannibalising print revenue.

SPH chairman Tony Tan said: 'By going into online classifieds, which may nibble away at our print business, we are taking a significant step forward into the Internet age.

'We have to position ourselves for the day when technology changes radically the way we consume media. We will not be caught unprepared when that day comes. Our investment today will have paid off.'

SPH cited a survey commissioned by the World Association of Newspapers which showed that the revenue from online classified advertising is almost 8 per cent of that for all print classified advertising, growing by 22 per cent last year.

Said Ms Elsie Chua, who heads SPH's Classified Advertising: 'We cannot roll back technology. Equally, we are not going to sit back and let others eat our lunch.'

The company was also heartened by the experience of a major Scandinavian media group which chalked up more revenue from both print and online operations, than if it had relied on just print alone.

'We will work to make that happen,' said Ms Chua.

The ST701 jobs website is expected to capture 50 per cent of the online job market, said to be worth about $8 million, in five years.

Mr Lee Kum Sun, a consulting manager at HR firm People Search, welcomed an online version of print classifieds, as the expanded reach would allow recruiters to target the right people for jobs.

Advertisers can pay an additional $30 to $80 to get a print advertisement online. An online-only job posting costs $120 for 30 days.

Ms Chua added that SPH also had plans to add property listings to the site, among others, and to look into extending classified advertisements via mobile phones.

SPH chief executive Alan Chan said: 'The name of the game is capturing quality eyeballs. We are on a constant lookout for partners to roll out cutting-edge services, from music and video clips to computer gaming and directory searches.'