ST to mark 175th birthday with product revamp, events, treats for readers

New print and digital offerings; prizes such as trips abroad and movie tickets up for grabs

SPH kick-started the transformation journey last month with the launch of The Straits Times News Tablet. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Straits Times turns 175 this year and plans a product revamp across all platforms.

Readers can expect new and more engaging print content, as well as enhancements to the ST app and website.

To mark the anniversary on July 15, there will be contest giveaways for subscribers, with holidays to Australia and movie screenings.

ST editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: "2020 is going to be a big year for The Straits Times.

"This is the year we mark our 175th anniversary and in the life of any organisation, that is a significant milestone, and worth celebrating."

The best way to do so, he said, was to keep improving ST's products to serve its readers even better.

"What we plan to do is revamp all our products across all our platforms, and we have been consulting our audiences on this. So later this year, you will see these new products being launched."

The app and Web products will be made more intuitive and interactive, with better search functions for readers to access the information they need easily.

New visual storytelling formats are also being planned.

The refreshed print product will feature new sections, with journalists delving deeper into areas that readers are interested in, such as parenting and investing, based on data analysis and feedback from readers.

SPH kick-started the transformation journey last month with the launch of The Straits Times News Tablet, an e-paper subscription plan which comes with a pre-installed app on a Samsung tablet. More than 5,000 subscribers have signed up to date.

Mr Fernandez said: "We have just started with The Straits Times News Tablet, and we have had a very encouraging response to it. So, we plan to build on it, and more of this will follow soon."

Subscribers can also look forward to exciting contests with attractive prizes up for grabs. These include preview tickets to some of the year's highly anticipated movies.

A partnership with United International Pictures, the contest will be held via the SPH Rewards app.

For six months starting next month, subscribers can win a pair of tickets to the preview screening of a different film each month.

Up to 175 pairs of tickets will be given out per screening.

The movies are live action adventure Sonic The Hedgehog; horror sequel A Quiet Place: Part II; James Bond movie No Time To Die; action sequel Fast & Furious 9; animated feature Minions: The Rise Of Gru; and Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to Tom Cruise's 1986 iconic movie.

Four lucky subscribers will also get a four-day, three-night holiday for two to Australia.

Organised in partnership with Dynasty Travel, the treat will include flight tickets, airport transfers and accommodation for two.

More details about both the movie screening contest and the contest for a trip to Australia will be released next month. Other events and activities are also in the pipeline, including concerts and public forums, with details to be announced later.

Mr Fernandez said: "We have an anniversary dinner for our stakeholders, an exhibition that will be held at the National Museum of our pictures and pages from The Straits Times, as well as events for our staff, our alumni and our readers, of course."

The exhibition, Home, Truly: Growing Up With Singapore, 1950s To The Present, is a collaboration between ST and the National Museum of Singapore, and is part of the paper's 175th anniversary contribution to the community.

It will be held at the National Museum's Stamford Gallery from August to February next year, and will explore moments and experiences in the country's history, as told through the pages and photos of ST over the past 175 years.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2020, with the headline ST to mark 175th birthday with product revamp, events, treats for readers. Subscribe