Vendors Praise SPH Direct Subscription Drive (ST)

BackOct 06, 2010

NEWSPAPER vendor Samuel Tay has to compile and update subscriber details and even collect payments every month.

But he can now spend less time on the tedious chore, thanks to a recent campaign launched by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which encourages subscribers to sign up directly with the company.

For direct subscribers, SPH will take care of all related issues, leaving vendors to focus only on delivering the newspapers.

The Straits Times Success Series campaign, launched on Sept 22, aims to reach out to current and new subscribers.

In the last two weeks, more than 13,000 people have called in to find out more about the subscription drive. About 28,000 have also visited the microsite,, which was created for the campaign.

So far, more than 9,000 people have signed up to subscribe to The Straits Times directly through SPH; many of them are first time subscribers.

Those who sign up during the two-month-long campaign stand to win European holidays, luxury cruises and electronic gadgets in the sure-win lucky draws, which will be held on Nov 4 and Dec 10. A lucky subscriber will win an additional grand prize of a new Volkswagen Tiguan. The prizes amount to more than $2 million, making this the paper's largest giveaway in its 165-year history.

On top of the prizes, direct subscribers also enjoy better customer service and promotional rewards. And they can choose from different modes of payment, including Giro, Internet banking and credit cards.

President of the Singapore News Vendors' Association Jayakumar S.P., 50, said vendors are glad that the drive will bring in new subscribers: 'We can try to canvas new subscribers but we can't offer gifts and attractive prizes.'

Newspaper vendors say they are also keen to get current subscribers who go through them to sign up directly with SPH.

Their reasons: less time spent collecting payments and lower risk of bad debts. And they still get to keep their commission from delivering The Straits Times.

Payment collection is a 'very tedious' process, said Mr Tay, 41, who is also president of Singapore Newspaper Distribution Association.

Collection has to be done in the evenings, when subscribers are usually at home. This means vendors have to put in extra hours on top of the time spent delivering the papers in the mornings, said Mr Tay, who has been a registered vendor for about 18 years.

There were also occasions when subscribers moved out of their flats without paying their subscriptions. The vendors ended up incurring the cost.

Mr Chua Wee Phong, executive vice- president of SPH's circulation department, reiterated that readers who currently subscribe to the ST through vendors are also eligible to participate in the campaign if they make the switch to direct subscription.

One such reader is retiree Henry Lee, 69.

Explaining why he made the switch, he said: 'I can use my credit card (to pay) and get points. This will also make life easier for my poor vendor who often has to make a few trips to collect money because I am not at home.

'But most of all, I was attracted by the big car that I could win.'

  • Call 6388-3838 to subscribe to The Straits Times and get a gift.
  • If you are already a subscriber, you can still walk away with a gift by converting your vendor subscription to a direct one.
  • The campaign ends on Nov 27.

Those who want to find out more may visit