As a key media owner in Singapore, Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SPH) has the unique advantage of reaching audiences across four platforms (print, digital, radio and outdoor. Although SPH’s total audience across its platforms has increased, its print revenue continues to decline. In addition, the uncertain macroeconomic outlook this year has seen consumer demand fall and advertisers scaling back on advertising spend. This has resulted in the media owner to decide to streamline its media and magazine operations.
The restructuring will result in an approximate 5% reduction in staff numbers in the Media Group. The exercise is expected to be completed within the first quarter of FY19/20. SPH has informed the Ministry of Manpower and the NTUC on this exercise. Affected staff will receive compensation on terms negotiated and agreed with the staff union.
In addition, SPH has also been working closely with the union and e2i to ensure that affected staff receives the help and support they require during this period. This includes on-site career guidance, employment placement services, as well as professional counseling support.
SPH CEO Mr Ng Yat Chung said, “The restructuring will enable us to deliver more effective solutions across various media platforms to meet the evolving demands of our advertising customers. We continue to invest in the newsrooms and digital media capabilities while remaining disciplined about cost. This restructuring exercise is necessary to enhance our operational efficiency and strengthen our position in this challenging economic and media environment. I would like to thank the union for its understanding and support through the exercise.”
Going forward, SPH will be restructuring its media solutions and magazine business to enable integrated selling across all platforms. To augment this move, SPH will also invest in solutions that will make its print advertising more interactive and trackable.
Mr David Teo, President of the Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU), stated, “The SPH management has shared with the union the rationale of the exercise and support they will be providing to affected staff. We have worked with them on the compensation packages and the necessary assistance to ensure that the whole process will be handled in the best way possible."
Given the macroeconomics, SPH’s decision is not a surprise as media companies all over the world have been continuing to cut down and streamline operations given the digital onslaught. How far will this move help SPH to do so remains to be seen.
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