Customised print ads with a digital twist for SPH readers from 2019

(From left) SPH senior vice-president of production Lim Swee Yeow, SPH deputy CEO Anthony Tan, HP president of Asia Pacific and Japan Richard Bailey, and vice-president Michael Boyle at yesterday's event.
(From left) SPH senior vice-president of production Lim Swee Yeow, SPH deputy CEO Anthony Tan, HP president of Asia Pacific and Japan Richard Bailey, and vice-president Michael Boyle at yesterday's event.ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI
Samples of ads on books and other materials printed using the new digital press.
Samples of ads on books and other materials printed using the new digital press.ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

Readers of publications by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will be able to see customised print advertisements in their newspapers from next year.

This is being made possible with the organisation's purchase of a digital press - the HP PageWide Web Press T240 HD - which will run alongside the traditional analog printers.

SPH and HP Inc yesterday announced a partnership that will enhance SPH's innovative media solutions for its advertisers and brand owners. The agreement was signed by SPH deputy chief executive Anthony Tan and HP's president of Asia Pacific and Japan Richard Bailey at SPH's News Centre Auditorium.

The new press is able to customise each print advertisement - personalised salutations and targeted advertisements, for example - which is then inserted into the newspaper.

It is also able to embed an "invisible watermark" on print advertisements. With an appropriate mobile app, readers who scan the advertisement will be linked to a webpage or video without the need for QR codes.

The press will be progressively installed and tested at SPH's Jurong printing facility during the last quarter of this year. It is expected to be commissioned by the first quarter of next year.

Mr Tan said: "While we say we're digital-first, there is still a huge market out there who demand a print solution. Print will complement our stable of products, while we pursue the digital-first strategy.

"This opens up a new dimension for print readers, people who are not entirely comfortable in moving into the digital world."

Said Mr Bailey: "While brands understand the value in giving customers a seamless, personalised experience online and in print, making that a reality can be challenging for many.

"With digital printing technology, publishing houses such as SPH can create differentiated experiences for their target audiences as well as offer higher quality customisation to brands so that brands, in turn, better engage their consumers."

As part of the partnership, HP will also provide SPH with training in deploying digital printing for brand and customer engagement, and support in business development.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2018, with the headline 'Customised print ads with a digital twist for SPH readers from 2019'. Print Edition | Subscribe