ST now offers SkillsFuture approved English course amid decline in advertising revenue

The Straits Times (ST) announced today (21 Mar) that the public can now use their SkillsFuture credits to take up ST’s “English Masterclass” course, designed to help people improve their writing. It has been approved by SkillsFuture Singapore.

“Those eager to write better for work can now tap their SkillsFuture credits to brush up on their English,” announced ST.

ST has priced their English course at $499 per participant. So, that means with the $500 SkillsFuture credits given by the government to all Singaporeans aged 25 and above, they can take up ST’s English course for “free”. No top-up from the course participant is required.

ST Editor-in-Chief Warren Fernandez said, “Over the years, we have received many requests to run English language programmes from various partners, to play on our strength as an English language newsroom. People want help to write more clearly or creatively.”

“We don’t claim to be experts, but our reporters do strive to tell stories in compelling and coherent ways. In so far as we are able to share those skills, we are happy to do so,” he added.

ST asks public to learn English to avoid spelling and grammatical errors

The seven-hour English course will help participants to avoid common spelling and grammatical errors, ST said.

They will also learn how to write e-mails that will get their message across clearly, it added.

The ST reporter, Angelina Choy, who is the instructor for the English course also urged people to use their SkillsFuture credits.

“We hope people will use their SkillsFuture Credit for something as useful as this – learning how to make their point easily and effectively,” she said.

ST said it will be rolling out more courses, which presumably can be paid for by individual’s SkillsFuture credits.

It also pre-announced that it would be offering a “Mobile Video workshop” soon, where participants can learn to capture video clips with their smartphones.

The next ST English Masterclass courses will be held on April 3, 12 and 19; and May 17 and 24, it said.

ST ad page count falling

Meanwhile, UOB Kay Hian reported last week that the advertisement page count of ST had slipped 12.7% year-on-year for 2Q in its financial year of 2018.

The decline was driven primarily by the display ad segment, which accounted for two-thirds of the total decline on an absolute basis. In 1Q, its advertisement page count also fell 13.6% year-on-year.

“A decline of this magnitude historically translated to 16-22% y-o-y decline in quarterly print revenue,” UOB Kay Hian said.

UOB Kay Hian continues to recommend investors not to hold SPH shares and to sell them. “SPH remains structurally challenged with no floor to be found yet for its media business,” it added.

It also noted that SPH continues to see “flat circulation” revenue in spite of the increase in digital subscribers.

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