SPH braces for a tough year ahead, ad revenue dips

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has reported a 20.4% drop in its annual net profit mainly due to a lower fair value gain on investment properties.

Advertisement revenue for its media business also contributed to the loss. Revenue numbers for the media business dropped by SG$60.9 million or 6.3% compared to the previous year. Mirroring publishing industry's downward trend globally,  SPH's ad revenue fell by SG$53.7 million, indicating a 7.4% fall.

SPH said in a press statement that during the year, the performance of the media business was impacted by "muted economic growth, a sluggish advertising market and structural challenges confronting the media industry."

Most recently, SPH magazine shut down its Singapore version of Cosmopolitan magazine. A spokesperson had said that as "a business model, the magazine is not sustainable”.

Alan Chan, chief executive officer of SPH, said operating environment will likely remain challenging for the year ahead. He added that amid difficult times, the group is nonetheless "seeing growth in its digital media revenues and will continue to evaluate and pursue growth opportunities."

Revenue from the group’s other businesses fell SG$3.0 million or 6.4% against FY2014, as revenue for the exhibitions business was affected by timing differences in show dates. Total operating expenditure dipped by SG$30.9 million or 3.5% YOY to $851.2 million, mainly attributable to reduced newsprint, utility and production costs.

However, property revenue for the group surged by SG$25.8 million or 12.6% YOY, boosted by contribution from The Seletar Mall which commenced business during the financial year, and higher rental income from Paragon and The Clementi Mall.