Singtel CEO takes home SG$6.56m for FY2017, digital dollars see growth

Singtel's group CEO Chua Sock Koong (pictured) earned a remuneration package of SG$6.56 million for the financial year of 2017 ending on 31 March, said a recent article on the Straits Times. Chua earned about SG$6.39 million in the previous year. This comes after Singtel has made a full-year group net profit stable at SG$3.85 billion.

Chua said in the press statement that the results were proof of Singtel's strength in its core businesses and diversified operations, aided by strong cost management. "Our investments in networks and spectrum, differentiated content and innovative plans have helped us stand out from the competition and win new customers," she said.

Meanwhile, Group Digital Life, Singtel's digital business led by Samba Natarajan, has been seeing continued growth with a revenue increase of 9% in the fourth quarter, said the press statement. This was due to Amobee's performance in social, video and display advertising.

A subsidiary of Singtel, Amobee also recently acquired global technological platform provider Turn earlier this year for US$310 million, expanding its existing programmatic and data management capabilities. According to Amobee, this acquisition allows it to offer marketers an independent end-to-end advertising and data management platform across all channels, formats and devices, access to proprietary Amobee Brand Intelligence insights as well as advanced analytics and media planning capabilities.

The report said EBITDA improved due to lower losses at Amobee but was partially offset by higher content and marketing costs at HOOQ. HOOQ, a mobile video streaming service established by Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros.

Chua said in Singtel's 2017 annual report that HOOQ is steadily gaining subscribers in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. This is a result of partnership with regional associates. HOOQ also hired Michael Fleshman as CTO in February and named Michael D’Oliveiro as the country manager last year.

Other subsidiaries under Group Digital Life's portfolio include Innov8 and DataSpark. As Singtel's venture arm, Innov8 launched Singtel Innov8 Connect (Innov8 Connect) last year, bringing start-ups and Singtel together to create innovative solutions for business challenges faced by Singtel. It also collaborated with global telcos such as Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica in 2015 to bridge the start-up ecosystems worldwide.

DataSpark is responsible for delivering analytics solutions focused on geospatial insights for the telco and public sectors. Chua said it is deploying its products in markets beyond Singapore such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Australia. Earlier this year, Singtel also entered into a strategic partnership with out-of-home (OOH) communications agency Posterscope to launch an initiative using near real-time mobile analytics in the strategic planning for OOH advertising in Singapore. Posterscope is part of Dentsu Aegis Network

"Singtel today is markedly different from the traditional telco we were five years ago. We've strengthened our competitiveness, and we're also more diversified and resilient," Chua said, adding:

We believe the digital revolution should benefit and empower everyone, not just those who can afford it or have ready access to such technology.

In the emerging markets, mobile data remained the key growth driver for the regional associates. In the Enterprise space, Singtel recorded a strong performance for the quarter with growth in cyber security services and new contract wins. On the group consumer front, strong mobile data and broadband growth across the consumer businesses in Singapore and Australia mitigated the decline in voice and roaming services. The consumer revenue grew by 7% in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Consumer Singapore outperformed the market with growth in mobile data, broadband, TV and equipment sales, and revenue was up 1% in the fourth quarter.

Marketing has reached out to Singtel for further comment on its digital initiatives.