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SPH Magazines to launch major restructuring exercise

SPH Magazines has reported that it will launch a major restructuring exercise to prepare its suite of magazines for a digitally-driven future.

With the restructuring, the group's staffing will be right-sized from 379 (as at Aug 2017) to about 300. This reduction has largely already been achieved through ongoing staff attrition and redeployment. However, 13 staff who could not be redeployed will be retrenched in March. They will receive compensation on terms negotiated and agreed with the staff union.

According to the release, the restructuring will comprise several concurrent initiatives:

  1. The custom publishing team (Custom Content Solutions) and its contract titles will be transferred to Focus Publishing - the contract publishing subsidiary of SPH's Chinese Media Group. This creates a unified, multi-lingual contract publishing offering.
  2. The other operating units will be co-located in new premises at News Centre in Toa Payoh. The group previously operated at separate locations at Genting Lane and Outram Road.
  3. The editorial division, helmed by group editor-in-chief Caroline Ngui, will launch shared digital desks to speed up the company’s digital-first strategy. The title teams will continue to handle both print and digital content, while retaining each brand’s unique selling points (USP).
  4. The current sales and marketing teams will be re-organised across titles into two divisions:
    • A unified sales division (renamed business solutions and headed by Maureen Wee) will handle advertising sales for all print and digital titles. The new unit will also be re-organised by industry sectors, rather than by individual titles. 
    • A market development division, headed by Geoff Tan, will work closely with Business Solutions and Editorial and spearhead new marketing initiatives across all titles in the group. The team will comprise specialists in three areas: partnerships & strategy; insights & intelligence; and activations and sponsorships.
  5. A refocused digital development division, headed by Joseph Lee, will drive the continued strong growth of digital revenues and bring new and innovative solutions to readers and corporate partners.

SPH Magazines' chief executive officer, Loh Yew Seng, said: “While Editorial will maintain its sharp focus on serving our audiences, we believe that this new structure allows us to be more agile in developing multi-platform business solutions for our customers.”

Loh added that no titles will be closed in this exercise, although the performance of titles will continue to be monitored.

Loh said: "Our investments in digital capabilities and assets over the last five years are paying off. Our digital products are showing consistent growth, despite the severely challenged media market. We will continue to expand our digital network and also roll out innovative advertising solutions. We are also investing further in analytics and our developer resources.

“We believe that our magazines have a viable future as a digitally-driven business, with a diversified portfolio of strong brands that are market leaders in their respective genres. The key is to remain the number one network in the digital space, in terms of audience reach and engagement for advertisers,” he concluded.

Photo / 123RF

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