ST draws more subscribers with new plans

New approach and subscription packages have received good response in past months

A scoop revealing that insurers were looking to get people to pay part of their hospital bills, even if they buy riders that cover the entire amount.

An investigative report on Housing Board flats that remained unsold despite multiple sales exercises, and why they are unwanted.

An unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at brain surgery conducted while the patient was awake.

These were some of the premium stories that have helped accelerate The Straits Times' push for digital subscriptions.

Over 10,000 people have signed up for the paper's print and digital offerings since its new subscription plans were rolled out in late February.

The good news comes as Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) third-quarter net profit rose 64.3 per cent year-on-year to $47.4 million, according to its latest quarterly results on Wednesday. SPH said ST's e-paper is enjoying good readership with more than 37,000 unique readers, which translates to over 15 per cent of ST's print circulation.

Among the new subscribers is Mr Abdullah Ahmah Iskandar, 46, a senior associate at an architectural firm. He purchased a digital subscription to the paper earlier this year.

"I like getting updates about the interesting stories in the paper in different ways," he said. "I read ST's Facebook or Instagram updates for the headlines, the digital paper if I need to know something now, and when I'm more relaxed at home, I'll borrow my mum's hard copy."

  • Perks for ST readers

  • Readers of The Straits Times can look forward to a range of events appealing to every interest in the days ahead.

    Today, 60 lucky football fans and ST subscribers will celebrate two things - the winner of the World Cup, and the Straits Times' 173rd birthday.

    They will attend a screening of the World Cup final at the rooftop bar 1-Altitude at 1 Raffles Place, where they can also catch a 360-degree view of the skyline during half-time.

    On July 29, loyal readers can enjoy music at The Straits Times Concert in the Garden. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra will entertain listeners with classical evergreens and family favourites. Before that, attendees can take part in a carnival offering treats curated by ST's food writers.

    Finally, readers can keep fit with ST's annual run on Sept 23, with 5km, 10km and 18.45km routes. Past runners enjoy a special rate, while current ST subscribers who sign up for ST Run 2018 will receive an exclusive ST Run Gym Bag.

Mr Warren Fernandez, ST editor and editor-in-chief of SPH's English/Malay/Tamil Media group, said: "We are pleased with the results so far. Not only has the number of subscribers grown over the past months, but most of the new subscribers have opted for the higher-value packages. This shows that they find good value in them."

He added that plans are afoot to deploy more resources in the ST newsroom to produce more premium content that readers value, across all its platforms.

"We have watched the trends and continue to study the data carefully, to hone our judgments on what readers value most, so that we can serve them better," he added.

ST also made an impact with its coverage of the recent Malaysian election, with a surge in online traffic during the campaign. Regional correspondent Leslie Lopez's inside look at how power in Kuala Lumpur changed hands over 24 hours after the May 9 polls was one of ST's best-read pieces.

ST ramped up its efforts for the coverage of the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, producing a series of features, infographics and interactive content. The online stories and graphics on the summit were among the most well-read stories of the month and the print product enjoyed a boost in sales.

Executive photojournalist Kevin Lim's pictures of the summit were featured prominently in publications such as Time, the Financial Times and The Telegraph.

Maths tutor Wong Chek Poh, 57, who subscribed to ST three months ago, said he enjoyed reading the paper. "From sports to tech updates to important news at home and around the world - ST is quite reliable," he said.

ST is also looking to grow its overseas readership and brand visibility by partnering with organisers of major conferences. These included last week's trifecta of the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and Clean Enviro Summit attended by some 20,000 delegates here and globally.

ST has also partnered with organisations overseas, such as the East-West Centre and the World Economic Forum, to promote its content to a wider audience.

At these events, ST's senior editors participated in panel discussions and moderated forums. Copies of the paper were distributed together with The Straits Times Asia Report, which showcases some of the best work of the paper's writers. Copies are distributed in Singapore and the region, with its online version getting up to 50,000 downloads per issue.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 15, 2018, with the headline 'ST draws more subscribers with new plans'. Print Edition | Subscribe