SPH building an ecosystem around the media: Chairman Lee Boon Yang

(From left) SPH company secretary, general counsel and executive vice-president of corporate communications and corporate and social responsibility Ginney Lim, SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang, SPH CEO Alan Chan and SPH deputy chairman Cham Tao S
(From left) SPH company secretary, general counsel and executive vice-president of corporate communications and corporate and social responsibility Ginney Lim, SPH chairman Lee Boon Yang, SPH CEO Alan Chan and SPH deputy chairman Cham Tao Soon at the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) is "building an ecosystem around the media" through its investments and partnerships in related businesses like online classifieds and education, chairman Lee Boon Yang said.

SPH's own transformation into a fully-fledged print and digital media company, supplemented by its other investments in media-related firms and its property business, are part of efforts to boost earnings in the long term and "bring SPH back on to the growth path", Dr Lee added.

He was responding to queries from shareholders at the company's annual general meeting, held on Tuesday at the SPH News Centre.

Shareholders asked about the company's strategy in the face of a rapidly evolving media landscape, and its plans to ensure that revenue and shareholder dividends "remain sustainable".

SPH's net profit for the full year slipped 6.2 per cent to $404.3 million as a drop in the profitability of its key newspaper and magazine business was partially offset by growth in its property and other businesses.

The firm's operating revenue for the year ended Aug 31 fell 2 per cent to $1.22 billion, also mainly owing to a decline in newspaper and magazine revenue.

The company's investments in media-related businesses will take time to yield results, particularly investments in start-up companies, said Dr Lee.

"Some start-ups will make it big and pay off very well, but some will not succeed," he added. "We will continue to invest prudently, selectively and with an eye towards maximising returns."