SPH MediaBoxOffice takes ads out for a walk - Nov 01, 2005 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH MediaBoxOffice takes ads out for a walk

By Gabriel Chen
Nov 01, 2005
The Straits Times

THE move by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to take advertising beyond the traditional newspaper and magazine environment is racing ahead in more ways than one.

The media group's subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice (SPH MBO), has upped the pace in the ad space race by unveiling a new concept - Media Walkers.

SPH MBO showed off its Media Walkers for the first time at the Caltex House atrium last week.

Media Walkers are models who weave through crowds with a laptop computer strapped to their body, providing advertisers with a new channel to display their goods and services.

'This live medium adds a touch of novelty to on-site events and quirky guerilla marketing campaigns,' SPH MBO said in a press statement.

Its drive to take ads out of the home has expanded into other new areas.

SPH MBO, already known to advertisers as the largest provider of big electronic screens in Singapore, disclosed in the press statement that it now has 400 plasma and LCD screens at POSB branches, Singapore Pools outlets and even the Singapore Turf Club.

That makes for an immense pool of consumers that advertisers can reach directly - the 54 POSB branches have at least six million average transactions each month, and the 23 Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools outlets have at least 380,000 people going through them every month.

SPH MBO's new inroads appear timely. Although Singapore ad expenditure has fallen, the amount spent on outdoor posters grew nearly 12 per cent to about $41 million in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, according to Nielsen Media AdEx figures.

In addition to providing plasma and LCD screens, SPH MBO's electronic screens light up sites such as Caltex House, Woodlands Checkpoint, Singapore Visitors Centre and HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

SPH MBO chairman Leslie Fong, who is also SPH's head of marketing, said that by providing outdoor digital media, it would be an opportunity to signal SPH's intentions that it wanted to be 'a serious media player in terms of delivering media content over many platforms'.

'We are out to create a buzz in the industry,' he said. 'We may be small compared with the established international outdoor players, but we are big on new ideas. Ultimately, this business is about capturing people's attention. We want to do that with flair and panache.'

Revealing that SPH is now working with the telcos to deliver content over wireless modes soon, he said there are further plans to make SPH MBO 'a regional player' by expanding its outdoor ad business in this region.

SPH MBO also said in its statement that it has exclusive sites for 3D displays or interactive booths along the Orchard Road shopping area during the Christmas light-up. The firm is an 80 per cent-owned subsidiary of SPH, and was formed in September.