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Mediacorp’s TODAY stops print, 40 staff members affected

Mediacorp has revealed that it would be discontinuing TODAY’s print edition as the company looks towards becoming fully digital, the last print edition being in September 2017. The move will result in the redundancies of 40 roles. Marketing understands a majority of roles affected are in the circulation and print-specific functions.

The company will also look to explore options to redeploy the staff to other roles within the organisation. Where this is not possible, eligible staff will be offered severance packages and outplacement support.

“Mediacorp thanks all staff of the TODAY team for their contributions,” the press statement read.

In a statement to Marketing,  Karen Yew, head of brand and communications at Mediacorp said that all ads booked for September will be published. She added that TODAY‘s print edition would still taking bookings for the month of September. Over the next two weeks, Mediacorp’s commercial group teams will be in touch with advertisers to discuss how to best meet their needs in view of the changes after September.

“Readers increasingly want their news on the go. We are encouraged by the growth in engagement as seen with the digital weekend edition. Advertising revenues are following audiences to digital platforms. With that Mediacorp has strengthened its commercial offerings to enable advertisers to reach their clients digitally,” Yew explained.

These offerings, together with Mediacorp’s TV and Radio platforms, aim to offer clients integrated multi-platform marketing solutions.

The move follows a deal which was signed today which sees Mediacorp buying back a 40% stake of Mediacorp Press, held by Singapore Press Holdings since 2005. According to the statement, the completion of the deal is subject to regulatory approval and scheduled for the end of September 2017, coinciding with the last print edition of TODAY.

“With full ownership and control of Mediacorp Press, Mediacorp will restructure the TODAY business to better face the new digital-first media landscape,” the Mediacorp statement said.

It added that TODAY started preparing for its strategic digital pivot three years ago. In April 2017, TODAY  launched a fully digital weekend edition. Moving forward, the next step for the publication would be turning its weekday editions fully digital as well.

“TODAY has earned a reputation for journalistic excellence. The product has won a slew of international and local awards for its reporting, digital initiatives, and visual journalism among others. As TODAY goes fully digital, it continues to uphold its commitment to journalistic excellence,” the statement read.

This is not the first time Mediacorp has made strides into going fully digital for its print publications. In March this year, the company discontinued the print editions of its Style brand of magazines. This saw the migration of its Style and Style: Men content to its digital portal styleXstyle.

The company also revealed plans discontinue the transmission radio station Lush 99.5FM, with effect from 1 September 2017. According to Mediacorp, this was “part of a rationalisation of its network of radio stations”. Prior to the move, the station had been around for 13 years. However, it saw a decline in listenership over the years, to numbers as low as 50,000 weekly.

Most recently, the company hired Tham Loke Kheng as its CEO and board director, effective 1 September 2017. She takes over from Shaun Seow, who took up a new role at Temasek Holdings. Seow joins Temasek’s telecom, media & technology investment team, which includes Mediacorp in its portfolio.

In March this year, the company also appointed Parminder Singh as its chief commercial and digital officer. Singh joins Mediacorp from Twitter, where he was managing director, Southeast Asia, Middle East, North Africa and India. Singh’s role combined what were previously two separate positions in the company and follows a series of recent hires reflecting Mediacorp’s move to bolster its digital capabilities.

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