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TODAY goes digital only – with loss of 40 jobs – as Mediacorp buys back stake in SPH

Singaporean free tabloid TODAY is to cease publishing a print edition as Mediacorp prepares to buy back two minority stakes in its television and newspaper businesses owned by Singapore Press Holdings.

TODAY newspaper

Some 40 jobs are to be axed from Singapore’s second-highest circulation print title as Mediacorp restructures the business to make it “better face the new digital-first media landscape”.

TODAY’s last print edition will be published at the end of September.

SPH, which publishes leading Singaporean daily The Straits Times, bought the stakes in 2005. At that time, SPH transferred a TV channel to Mediacorp and took a 20 per cent stake in Mediacorp TV Holdings.

SPH merged its free newspaper Streats with TODAY, and invested in a 40 per cent stake of Mediacorp Press. Mediacorp TV Holdings currently owns Channels 5, 8 and U and Mediacorp Studios. The total purchase was valued at S$18 million, Mediacorp said.

Mediacorp said in a statement: “Reputed for its journalistic excellence, TODAY has recently been gaining recognition for its digital initiatives. TODAY started preparing for its strategic digital pivot three years ago, while staying focused on producing quality content.

“In April 2017, TODAY launched a fully digital weekend edition. Recognising that readers increasingly want their news on the go and encouraged by the growth in engagement, Mediacorp is taking the next step, turning the weekday editions fully digital too.”

In 2015, Mediacorp underwent a major restructure that saw 33 people retrenched and 50 moved to other parts of the business. Later that year, TODAY outsourced a chunk of its sub-editing function to an Australian firm.

This year, the media giant underwent a number of major leadership changes, with chief executive officer Shaun Seow stepping down and Tham Loke Kheng taking over his role.  

Seow’s departure followed that of Shane Mitchell and Jack Lim, who left the company last month. Both their roles were taken over by former Twitter managing director Parminder Singh.

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