SPH Media Trust looks to grow foreign audience, promote mother tongue at home

(From left) Chinese Media Group editor-in-chief Lee Huay Leng, SPH Media Trust interim CEO Patrick Daniel, SMT chairman Khaw Boon Wan, and English, Malay and Tamil Media Group editor-in-chief Warren Fernandez at a media briefing on Jan 27, 2022. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - SPH Media Trust (SMT) will redouble efforts to grow subscriptions and reach more readers overseas in order to share Singapore's perspectives on the world, said Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of SMT's English, Malay and Tamil Media Group.

Speaking during a media briefing on Thursday (Jan 27), Mr Fernandez said SMT will expand its foreign bureaus and develop their expertise, host more events and forums, and forge regional and global partnerships to build on the strong international audience that titles like The Straits Times (ST) and Lianhe Zaobao (ZB) already have.

He noted that a third of ST's readership comes from overseas, and that its top podcast is Asian Insider, which offers Singapore's insights on the region.

Ms Lee Huay Leng, editor-in-chief of SMT's Chinese Media Group (CMG), said ZB's websites attract about seven million monthly unique visitors as at last December, about two-thirds of whom are outside Singapore.

Besides mainland China, ZB's audiences in markets like Japan, Malaysia, the United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Australia have been growing, she said.

Ms Lee added that the aim is to continue growing CMG's international audience while continuing to serve existing readers well.

Another key mission for SMT is to promote the mother tongue languages, especially among young Singaporeans.

Mr Fernandez said SMT will work with various community groups that share the aim of safeguarding Singapore's culture and heritage, including clan associations, and also widen access to its products for schools.

Ms Lee said SMT aims to promote mother tongue languages to young audiences as living languages, through engaging content like videos and podcasts.

She said CMG will partner not only media outlets within SMT like Berita Harian and Tamil Murasu, but also external organisations, associations and other media outlets in the region to promote mother tongue language media.

During the briefing, SMT chairman Khaw Boon Wan said many people outside of Singapore are genuinely interested in the Republic's thinking, its approach to issues and its perspectives.

The geopolitical landscape is becoming increasingly complex with a growing rivalry between the US and China.

Said Mr Khaw: "For as long as we are successful, there will be interest from outsiders wanting to know how Singapore manages to be very friendly with two mega powers and yet succeed, not by taking sides but by knowing what Singapore's interest is and expressing that on principle very clearly."

SPH Brightcove Video
SPH Media Trust will continue to focus on building up its talent pool and technology capabilities as it pursues its mission to deliver quality, credible journalism, said chairman Khaw Boon Wan at a media briefing on Jan 27.

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