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More jobs axed as SPH Magazine’s sales and marketing team undergoes restructure

Singapore Press Holdings has launched its second major consolidation exercise in nine months by axing 79 roles from its magazine division.

The Singaporean media giant has folded its content publishing team – known as Custom Content Solutions – and its contracted titles into Focus Publishing, the contract publishing subsidiary of SPH’s Chinese Media Group.

The merger will see the magazine division’s headcount reduced from 379 to 300, although the majority of staff will be redeployed, with 13 being made redundant.

The move comes a month after Singapore Airlines ended its 15-year relationship with the company for the in-flight magazine SilverKris, handing the account to Ink.

SPH Magazine’s sales and marketing teams will also be re-organised into two units across titles. Its sales division, renamed Business Solutions, will be headed by Maureen Wee, and will handle advertising for print and digital titles.

The company has also launched what it has dubbed a Market Development division, headed by Geoff Tan, which will handle partnerships and strategy, insights and intelligence and activations and sponsorships.

All staff in these divisions will be moved from their offices in Genting Lane and Outram Road to SPH’s News Centre in Toa Payoh, where its editorial teams sit.

Meanwhile, in its editorial unit, the company has launched a “refocused digital development division”, headed by Joseph Lee, aimed at boosting the SPH’s digital revenues. SPH also stated it has launched “shared digital desks”, but has so far been unable to clarify any further specifics.

Although SPH Magazines claimed the transition is aimed at “consolidating its position as a major digital network in the magazine space”, the news comes following a difficult period for the Singaporean media giant.

Last year saw SPH let go 230 people after years of tumbling revenue from its media business as advertisers pivot away from investing in print.

The company’s latest earnings did not paint a pretty picture as the media arm’s earnings fell by 13.9 per cent fall in the first quarter for 2018, from S$202m to S$174m from the same period in 2017.

At the same time, the media arm’s pre-tax profit dropped 20.2 per cent to S$26.5 million.

Last year, its titles’ advertising revenue fell by S$24.2m – or 16.7 per cent – year on year.

SPH Magazines’ chief executive officer, Loh Yew Seng, said: “Our investments in digital capabilities and assets over the last five years are paying off. Our digital products are showing consistent growth, despite the severely challenged media market. We will continue to expand our digital network and also roll out innovative advertising solutions. We are also investing further in analytics and our developer resources.

“We believe that our magazines have a viable future as a digitally-driven business, with a diversified portfolio of strong brands that are market leaders in their respective genres. The key is to remain the No. 1 network in the digital space, in terms of audience reach and engagement for advertisers.”

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