SPH inks deal with News Corp Australia to target SME digital ad dollars

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has established a three-year partnership with News Corp Australia (NCA) that brings NCA’s digital marketing service, News Xtend, to Singapore. With this partnership, SPH expands its advertising network to include a "one-stop outcome-based digital marketing solution" for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it claims. SMEs can sign up for digital marketing packages through a monthly subscription model, and will have the option for their businesses to be marketed online. The marketing will be done through channels including SPH digital assets, programmatic advertising, search engine marketing and social media advertising. Businesses may also add on other SPH media assets to their subscription package, and digital performance metrics can be tracked in real-time through a customer dashboard. 

The move comes following the group having to rethink its operations as it restructured its media sales and magazines operations in August. The exercise was said to impact about 140 staff from the Media Solutions Division and SPH Magazines, and incur retrenchment costs of approximately SG$8 million. Additionally, Cleo, Young Parent and Shape publications were ceased and SPH has also exited the magazine business in Malaysia. Like most media companies, SPH has in recent times faced turbulence due to declining ad revenue in its media sector. According to a report in July, SPH's print ad revenue decreased by 51.4% year-on-year in Q3 of this financial year. Print ads include display, classified (recruitment and notices), and newspaper ads. While SPH's display ads saw a decrease of 55.8%, its classified ads saw a decrease of 42.7%.  Digital advertising revenue also registered a decline of 3.7% in the same period.  

Last month, the media company launched an eCommerce platform called Shop For Good, which aimed to stimulate the local economy by providing a mix of deals by merchants from retail, F&B and lifestyle services sectors. Participating merchants include brands such as Cath Kidston, Pedro, and Dorothy Perkins. Meanwhile, SPH also further pushed into its audio offering and partnered with FairPrice Finest to launch an in-store radio programme.

SPH's partnership with NCA is the newest addition to SPH's offerings for omnichannel media solutions for advertisers. Commenting on the new partnership, Anthony Tan, deputy CEO of SPH, said: “We are happy to collaborate with NCA to complement our advertising offerings with a convenient subscription-based, outcome-focused solution. This addresses a gap in the solutions available in the market today that will benefit SMEs.”

Ignatius Low, chief commercial officer of SPH, added: “At SPH, catering to our customers' requirements remains a strong priority. News Xtend allows our clients to achieve the outcomes they need to make a difference in their business with a subscription model that allows them to maximise budget efficiency.”

Emma Fawcett, managing director for commercial product and platforms of NCA said News Xtend’s competitive advantage is its customer-centric approach. She said: "We carefully select the services and channels that deliver the best and most cost-effective outcomes for the customer. It's how we deliver better outcomes for our customers, by combining the very best of our media business, data and digital assets.”

Michael Miller, executive chairman of NCA, said the partnership is a "significant step" for News Xtend, which has been one of NCA’s fastest growing businesses over the past five years. "We’re now exporting our know-how by partnering with another media company that, like ours, has successfully transitioned to the digital landscape. This is exactly the space we want to play in, and it’s a great acknowledgement that the investment we’ve made to grow and diversify our business is now being deployed by SPH in Singapore," Miller added. 

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