SPH launches Asian digital photo marketplace Photonico

Photonico, a digital photo marketplace, will feature Asian contemporary culture and heritage photography.
Photonico, a digital photo marketplace, will feature Asian contemporary culture and heritage photography. PHOTOS: PHOTONICO.ASIA

SINGAPORE - A website offering high-quality stock images on Asia has been launched by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Photonico, a digital photo marketplace, will feature Asian contemporary culture and heritage photography.

Led by SPH's newly formed digital media product division, a team of photographers, designers, SPHTech engineers and editorial staff collaborated to create www.photonico.asia.

Drawing from SPH's archives dating back to 1948 and a network of local contributors, the marketplace has over 12,000 images available for users to purchase, and more will be added to the repository daily. These uniquely Asian photographs are organised into categories such as Singapore heritage, food, nature and animals, business and Asian countries.

These thematic collections will be made available for individual, editorial and commercial uses for a fee.

SPH chief product officer Gaurav Sachdeva said: "Photonico reflects SPH's desire to position itself as a customer-centric company that comes up with products that serve our users' needs in the most relevant way. Our digital media product team will continue to harness our highly valued media assets and content creation capabilities to develop innovative products that enrich our users' life."

SPH chief technology officer Glen Francis added: "As Photonico grows, our customers will experience the seamless blend of graphic design, artificial intelligence and machine learning - all of which power Photonico's backend."

Photonico will be featured as part of the World Press Photo 2018 exhibition that will be held from Saturday (Oct 6) to Oct 28 at the National Museum of Singapore. Presented by The Straits Times, the exhibition will showcase 161 prize-winning photographs that captured the most powerful news images from around the world. In conjunction with the World Press Photo exhibition, The Straits Times will also showcase the best works by its photojournalists taken last year and this year.

In a separate announcement, SPH said that it has signed an agreement with A*Star's Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) to create a system that can optimise news headlines to improve audience engagement and media literacy.

Building on IHPC's proprietary technology for sentiment and emotion analysis, the collaboration will identify elements of news headlines that are linked to article popularity. SPH and IHPC will then develop a system that conducts affective analysis to predict the virality of an article based on its headline. This system will enable SPH journalists to test different headlines for their articles, before choosing the one that would best capture a reader's interest and attention.

IHPC will work with SPH's data science team from the company's media strategy and analytics department, which oversees efforts to use data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve on SPH's media products.

SPH deputy chief executive officer Anthony Tan said: "Article headlines are a key factor in attracting readers to delve into an article. This project will help our newsrooms better understand the emotional impact of different words and phrases used in headlines, so we can improve our engagement with readers and guide them towards important and informative news without resorting to clickbait."

Professor Tan Sze Wee, executive director of A*Star's Science and Engineering Research Council, said: "A*Star is committed to supporting SPH in its innovation journey to remain competitive and differentiated in the face of a rapidly changing global landscape. This partnership is testament to A*Star's research capabilities in artificial intelligence that can be applied across the media and services industries."

SPH is a media group which owns newspapers such as The Straits Times and The Business Times.