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SPH suffers 25% Q2 profit fall as media revenue continues decline

Singapore Press Holdings has posted another meagre quarter earnings as its latest financials revealed a 25-per cent fall in net profit from last year.

Despite a series of major staff-cutting measures, the media giant posted a second quarter profit of just S$40.2 million – down from S$53.5m the same period last year.

Within the group’s media business, 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.

Across the group as a whole, which also includes a burgeoning property business, operating revenue declined by 1.8 per cent year-on-year to S$233.7 million.

Since announcing a major wave of redundancies in September last year, which saw 230 jobs axed, SPH has experienced a series of set-backs within its media business, in particular losing the publishing contract with Singapore Airlines’ in-flight magazine. 

Following this, SPH Magazines underwent a restructure with the axing of 79 roles within its sales and marketing team and the loss of 13 jobs.  

However, upon releasing its results, SPH pointed to the introduction of its digital subscription – which has led to a significant chunk of its articles on The Straits Times marked premium and placed behind a paywall – as cause for optimism.

The company also touted its “integrated multi-platform marketing”, claiming 40 per cent more advertisers bought advertising that encompassed “two or more platforms” over the same period last year.

SPH’s leadership also changed hands last year with the ascension of executive director Ng Yat Chung to chief executive officer – ahead of September’s round of redundancies.

According to last year’s annual report, Ng earned S$188,000, while 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.”

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