Aug 17, 2020
By Fred Lai
Singapore Press Holdings
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause advertising revenues to dry up, the media industry is facing unprecedented challenges to remain viable. With news of furloughs and layoffs happening throughout the industry, publishers have to focus on how publications can accentuate their value to both audiences and advertisers, while staying relevant.
Thankfully, there are pockets of light amid the gloom. While the pandemic has decimated advertising revenue, the “corona bump” has brought about a surge in readership and subscription. In Singapore, which has similarly seen an upsurge in digital media consumption, SPH was pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in print newspaper engagement as well.
SPH Readership Survey
Singapore went into a “circuit breaker” mode on 7th April, when schools and workplaces were shut down and it became mandatory for people to stay home. With more people home-bound, we wanted to find out how staying at home changed our readers' media consumption behaviours. We commissioned two online studies over a seven-day period, covering 1,419 print readers across seven of Singapore Press Holdings newspaper titles.
Here’s what we found:
- 65% of subscribers are reading printed newspapers more frequently compared to 3 months ago.
- At least 60% are reading the top three sections of each paper more now as compared to three months ago.
- 85% are reading in more detail now, including advertisements.
- 40% spending over 30 minutes to more than an hour perusing the printed newspaper.
- With our audiences spending more time reading the papers, we hoped to provide them with a shorter time to gratification by introducing ads that are shoppable.
We created a shared marketplace and enabled our SME clients to buy ad exposure in the flagship papers at lower entry costs and drive direct response with minimal tech setup on their end, helping their businesses to acquire more customers. Merchants were able to buy individual tiles where each tile has an QR code (generated by us) that can be linked to the merchant’s site, WhatsApp (where people call or text their orders), or any URL.
We also partnered with department stores, such as Metro, to offer this as a solution to the stores’ merchants as well.
Even F&B owners could participate and promote their food delivery services to customers.