Customised print advertisements with a digital twist for SPH readers in 2019

At the signing ceremony at SPH's News Centre auditorium on July 25, 2018, were SPH senior vice-president of production Lim Swee Yeow (from left), SPH deputy CEO Anthony Tan, HP president of Asia-Pacific and Japan Richard Bailey and vice-president Mic
At the signing ceremony at SPH's News Centre auditorium on July 25, 2018, were SPH senior vice-president of production Lim Swee Yeow (from left), SPH deputy CEO Anthony Tan, HP president of Asia-Pacific and Japan Richard Bailey and vice-president Michael Boyle.ST PHOTO: SYAMIL SAPARI

SINGAPORE - Readers of publications by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) will be able to see customised print advertisements in their newspapers from 2019.

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 analogue printers.

SPH and HP Inc on Wednesday (July 25) 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 president of Asia-Pacific and Japan Richard Bailey at the SPH News Centre auditorium.

SPH - which has 17 newspapers and 80 magazines in its stable of print products - is the first organisation in South-east Asia to own this model of HP's digital press.

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

Variable content can be produced at speeds of 152 metres of newsprint - including other substrates such as coated and uncoated paper - a minute. The digital press reduces wastage and inventory as compared to traditional analogue printers that can only print in bulk.

The press 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. Quick response, or QR, codes are not needed for such advertisements.

The press will be progressively installed and tested at SPH's Jurong printing facility during the last quarter of 2018. It is expected to be commissioned by the first quarter of next year.

This technology allows for a print and digital intersection, said Mr Tan.

He said: "While we say we're digital-first, there is still a huge market out there which demands 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."

Mr Bailey said: "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.