Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced that its second quarter profit saw derivation from S$53.5 million in 2016 to S$40.2 million in 2017 despite a series of major staff-cutting measures.
In a press announcement, it is said that revenue fell by 7.4 per cent S$12.4m, with advertisement and circulation revenue sinking by S$10.7m (9.3 per cent) and S$3m (7.5 per cent) respectively, within the group’s media business.
Across the group as a whole, including a thriving property business, operating revenue declined by 1.8 per cent year-on-year to S$233.7 million.
September last year, executive director Ng Yat Chung, the former chief executive officer of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL, was appointed to be CEO.
Around the same time, the company announced a major wave of redundancies, which saw 230 jobs cut off.
SPH has then experienced a series of deterioration within its media business, particularly losing the publishing contract with Singapore Airlines’ in-flight magazine. Therefore, SPH Magazines underwent a restructure, cutting off 79 roles within its sales and marketing team and the loss of 13 jobs.
Releasing its result, SPH pointed to the introduction of its digital subscription as cause for optimism. The company stated that it has led to a significant chunk of its articles on The Straits Times marked premium and placed behind a paywall.
The company also touted its integrated multi-platform marketing, saying that 40 per cent more advertisers bought advertising that encompassed “two or more platforms” over the same period last year.
According to last year’s annual report, Ng earned S$188,000. His CEO predecessor, Alan Chan, took home S$3m, which included his salary, bonus and shares.
In a press statement, Ng, who previously called for the company to take a hard-nosed view of business, said, “We are focusing on our digital blueprint for the future, which includes our new all-digital subscription plans, and our strengthened integrated multi-platform marketing.”
“Our upcoming joint venture project The Woodleigh Residences and The Woodleigh Mall will contribute to our growth in the next few years. We are also exploring further growth in aged care and other property asset management sectors for the longer term.”