Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced today (May 6) plans to transfer its media business to a not-for-profit company.
This would enable the media business to focus on quality content and invest in talent and technology, SPH said in a media release.
Under the proposed restructuring, SPH's media business will be acquired and held by a wholly-owned subsidiary of SPH called the SPH Media Holdings Pte Ltd.
The subsidiary will own all media-related businesses including employees, the News Centre and Print Centre, and related leaseholds, and information technology assets.
Why SPH is moving its media business
SPH said that the move will be beneficial for the group because a not-for-profit structure will allow the Media Business to seek funding from a range of public and private sources.
Despite taking strict cost management measures in recent years, further cost measures will impact the company's ability to maintain quality journalism.
It said that its operating revenue has halved in the past five years due largely to a decline in print advertising and print subscription revenue.
For the six months ended February 28, 2021, the Media Business incurred a pre-tax loss of S$9.7 million, excluding the grant from the Jobs Support Scheme.
"With the decline in advertising revenue expected to continue at a similar pace to the last five years, the Media Business will continue to face severe financial challenges," said SPH.
SPH has approached the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) with its proposal.
MCI, which regulates SPH under the Newspaper and Printing Presses Act, has indicated its support for this restructuring.
Top image by Joshua Lee.