My Paper and The New Paper to merge; SPH to cut staff by up to 10 per cent over 2 years through series of measures

My Paper and The New Paper will merge to form a revamped TNP that will be distributed free from December, SPH announced on Oct 17, 2016. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
SPH announced it would be cutting staff by up to 10 per cent over 2 years as part of cost-savings measures, on Oct 17, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - My Paper and The New Paper (TNP) will merge to form a revamped TNP that will be distributed free from December, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced on Monday (Oct 17).

The new TNP, which will combine the strengths of both products, will be available at existing distribution points including MRT stations. It will continue to be available online.

SPH also announced that in view of the changing media landscape, it will be carrying out a right-sizing exercise across the group to reduce operating costs.

This will involve a staff reduction of up to 10 per cent over two years through attrition, retirement, non-renewal of contracts, outplacement and retrenchment, it said.

SPH will work with the relevant unions to ensure that fair terms are given to affected staff and will extend to them the necessary help to support them in their transition.

The two measures are among a number of changes the company unveiled after a five-month review of its core media business.

The review looked to address the evolving needs of advertising customers and delivering effective integrated solutions across various media platforms. The group also examined its product portfolio.

As a result of this review, SPH has formed a new integrated marketing division (IMD) that provides advertisers with a more effective and multi-platform reach to their audiences. The new IMD, which was formed in September through the merger of the company's print, digital, radio and out-of-home sales teams, will deliver optimised advertising solutions using data analytics for better audience insights.

SPH will also be making several changes to its existing portfolio, to refresh and rationalise its suite of products.

Among them is the merger of My Paper and TNP, which started in 1988. My Paper started as a free Chinese newspaper in 2006. It became bilingual in 2008.

Mr Patrick Daniel, deputy CEO of SPH, said that the group could not announce or respond to queries on TNP earlier as it was only on Monday that it got the licence for the revamped product.

Of this merger, Mr Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of English/Malay/Tamil Media group, said: "The New Paper currently has daily average sales of more than 60,000 which means over 60,000 people are prepared to pay 70 cents each day for the paper.

"Merging TNP with My Paper, making it free and increasing its circulation to up to 300,000 copies, is a bold decision to serve our readers with a strong product and with revamped content."

He added that TNP has a long tradition of remaking itself to stay attuned to readers' interests and needs. "That's part of its DNA. So now, we're making it new again, and planning a product that we believe both readers and advertisers will find appealing."

The new TNP will be a Monday to Saturday product, and also available online.

Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH, said: "We have done a comprehensive business review to strengthen our position in a tough economic and media environment. Market conditions will remain difficult with the continuing disruption of the media industry.

"We have had to take difficult decisions on cost control measures to improve operational efficiency. We will continue to innovate and invest in our media products to stay ahead and relevant. At the same time, we will grow our business adjacencies to diversify revenue streams and maximise stakeholder value."

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