SPH takes 80% stake in outdoor advertising tie-up - Sep 03, 2005 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

SPH takes 80% stake in outdoor advertising tie-up

By Lorna Tan
Sep 03, 2005
The Straits Times

KNOWN for its newspaper and magazine business, the sky is now the limit for Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

The media company yesterday announced that it has wrapped up a deal in which it will take over an islandwide network of electronic and plasma advertising screens lighting up prime sites such as Caltex House and the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.

PRINT TO SCREEN: The 'outdoor' approach, such as using a screen like this at Caltex House, helps advertisers take their message to a key audience in an environment where it is much more likely to be noticed.

The move takes SPH beyond its traditional print market to ride the wave of outdoor ads, catching the eyes of shoppers and commuters.

Under the deal, SPH has teamed up with MediaBoxOffice (MBO), which specialises in this form of outdoor ads, to create a subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice (SPH MBO).

SPH owns 80 per cent of the entity, and MBO's owner, investment holding company IBIZ Asia Distribution, has the rest.

SPH chief executive (CEO) Alan Chan said strong growth in 'out-of-home' ads in recent years was the main impetus for SPH to embark on the venture.

'With a projected growth rate of about 8 per cent per annum in Singapore for the next three to five years, the group is confident that this new venture will enhance SPH's position as the leading media company in the region,' he said.

'We see this an excellent opportunity to extend our reach beyond the core newspaper and magazine businesses. SPH MBO will build on the success of MBO to deliver the best outdoor advertising options for advertisers.'

The outdoor ad industry is worth about $100 million a year. It has seen more than a fivefold increase from the $20 million or less that went into it 10 to 15 years ago.

The 'outdoor' approach helps advertisers take their message to a key audience in an environment where it is more likely to be noticed, SPH said in a statement.

SPH's head of marketing, Mr Leslie Fong, added that SPH is sending the market a clear signal that it is more than just a newspaper company.

'We are going beyond print and would like to leverage on our brand name as well as our marketing strength and experience to offer advertisers unrivalled reach across all available platforms,' he said.

The new subsidiary will be headed by executive director James Heng, who has vast experience in newspaper advertising, Internet, mobile telephony and television, said SPH.

Supporting him will be MBO's two founding members: Mr Simon Choo, as CEO (China), and Mr Steven Choo, as CEO (Singapore).

SPH MBO will also hold exclusive marketing rights for events held at sites like Caltex House and the HDB Hub.