Newspaper distributors expand services to deliver goods purchased online, as well

SINGAPORE - Newspaper distributors are expanding their range of services and now also deliver goods that consumers buy online.

Mr Gan Thiam Poh, an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said in Mandarin: "Times are changing, the newspaper distribution industry needs to diversify.

"There is interest in online shopping, and this was what motivated the expansion."

The rise of the digital age, as well as social media, has had a direct impact on the livelihood of newspaper distributors, he noted.

Mr Gan, who succeeded Mr Seng Han Thong as the new adviser to the Newspaper Distribution Association, was at the officiation ceremony and Chinese New Year party for the committee on Wednesday evening (Feb 17), Zaobao reported. Mr Seng is now the honorary adviser.

Mr Gan said smartphones and tablets, as well as social media, were gaining popularity in the recent years. These forms of technology greatly impact the popularity of print media, and hence the livelihood of those delivering newspapers.

Mr Spencer Tan, head of retail operations and promotions at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), said the circulation team and two online shops were already working together, and will start a trial period within the first or second quarter this year. Other interested distribution companies are welcome to join.

Under the project by SPH which began in April 2015, newspapers would be delivered to a steel vending box resembling a letterbox at the void deck, sectioned and labelled with unit numbers. Residents would then collect their newspapers from the box. This trial ended in December.

These boxes will now be used for delivering the parcels purchased online as well.

Senior manager of circulation at SPH, Mr Bernard Yeo, said the response to the vending boxes has been good, and residents did not mind going down to get their papers. However, due to vandalism and high maintenance costs, this will not be expanded islandwide.

However, the company is open to exploring other future opportunities, or diversifying the current uses of the newspaper vending box.