SPH Magazines undertakes restructuring exercise

It aims to consolidate position as a major digital network in magazines; staffing to be cut back


SPH Magazines, the magazine arm of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), will launch a major restructuring exercise with the aim of consolidating its position as a major digital network in the magazine space.

With the restructuring, SPH Magazines' staffing will be reduced from 379 - as of August last year - to about 300, mostly through ongoing staff attrition and redeployment, SPH announced on March 20.

However, 13 staff who could not be redeployed will be retrenched in March. They will receive compensation on terms negotiated and agreed with the staff union.

SPH Magazines will work closely with the Creative Media and Publishing Union and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to support the retrenched staff in their reemployment, such as providing job placements and counselling service.

The restructuring of SPH Magazines, a subsidiary of SPH, includes reorganising divisions and relocating some operating units.

The custom publishing team - called Custom Content Solutions - and its contract titles will be transferred to Focus Publishing, the contract publishing subsidiary of SPH's Chinese Media Group.

The other operating units will be co-located in new premises at the News Centre building in Toa Payoh. The group previously operated at separate locations in Genting Lane and Outram Road.

The editorial division will launch shared digital desks to speed up the company's digital-first strategy. The title teams will continue to handle both print and digital content, while retaining each brand's unique selling points.

The current sales and marketing teams will be re-organised across titles into two divisions. The first is a unified sales division, renamed business solutions, which will handle advertising sales for all print and digital titles. The new unit will also be re-organised by industry sectors, rather than by individual titles.

The second division is a market development division which will work closely with the business solutions division and the editorial team to spearhead new marketing initiatives across all titles in the group. The team will comprise specialists in three areas: partnerships and strategy; insights and intelligence; and activations and sponsorships.

SPH Magazines' digital development division will be refocused and drive growth of digital revenues and bring new and innovative solutions to readers and corporate partners.

Mr Loh Yew Seng, SPH Magazines' chief executive officer, said: "While editorial will maintain its sharp focus on serving our audiences, we believe that this new structure allows us to be more agile in developing multi-platform business solutions for our customers."

He added that no SPH Magazines titles will be closed in the restructuring exercise, although the performance of titles will continue to be monitored.

After many years of sustained profitability, SPH Magazines made a loss in 2017. SPH also took impairment charges totalling $37.8 million in its third quarter, related primarily to the magazine business. With the planned restructuring and cost cuts, SPH Magazines is targeting to return to the black by the year end.

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