SPH Magazines has revealed major restructures in the organisation which will see the staff count go from 379 (as of August 2017), to around 300. In a statement confirming the move, the organisation said the reduction has largely been achieved through ongoing staff attrition and redeployment.
The statement added that 13 employees who are unable to be redeployed will face retrenchment in March, receiving compensation on terms negotiated and agreed with the staff union.
The move comes as the organisation prepares its suite of magazines for a digitally-driven future and consolidates its position in the digital magazines space. SPH Magazines’ chief executive officer, Loh Yew Seng, also confirmed that no titles will be closed in this restructuring exercise, although the performance of titles will continue to be monitored.
SPH Magazine’s sales and marketing teams will also be re-organised into two divisions across titles. Firstly, a unified sales division, renamed to Business Solutions, will be headed by Maureen Wee, who 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.
Meanwhile, a Market Development division, headed by Geoff Tan, will work closely with Business Solutions and Editorial teams, spearheading new marketing initiatives across all titles in the group. The team will comprise specialists in three areas, namely partnerships and strategy, insights and intelligence; and activations and sponsorships.
The restructures will also result in a focused Digital Development division. Headed by Joseph Lee, the new division will drive the growth of digital revenues and bring new and innovative solutions to readers and corporate partners.
Other concurrent initiatives of the restructure include the transferring of the custom publishing team (Custom Content Solutions)’s contract titles to Focus Publishing, a contract publishing subsidiary of SPH’s Chinese Media Group. This is to create a unified, multi-lingual contract publishing offering.
The Editorial division, helmed by group editor-in-chief Caroline Ngui, will also 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.
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.
“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 said. He explained that the company’s investments in digital capabilities and assets over the last five years are paying off, with its digital products are showing consistent growth, despite the severely challenged media market.
Besides focusing on online portals such as herworld.com and hardwarezone.com, the company also has worked to provide more than 100 digital editions in Singapore and the region, carried on Magzter and other digital newsstands. Its digital content has also been re-purposed by interest areas for further discovery through channels like MyReadingRoom.online and the WiFi Library, the statement added.
“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,” Loh added.
In January this year, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH)’ media business revealed continued impact from disruption to the industry as revenue declined SG$28 million or 13.9% to SG$173.9 million. Against 1Q 2017, advertisement revenue fell SG$24.2 million or 16.7%, while circulation revenue dipped SG$3.1 million or 7.3%. Last year, SPH completed its 10% staff reduction, this affected 230 jobs, with 130 being retrenchments.
It also conducted a major restructuring exercise for its Chinese Media Group (CMG), to merge editorial resources from Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, and CMG Digital to form NewsHub. It is also expanded its portfolio with the launch of two new radio stations in January 2018 – 96.3 Hao FM and Money FM 89.3. Money FM 89.3.