We have concluded a 10-month long transformation project, aimed at preparing SPH to face the challenges ahead.
As SPH chief executive officer Alan Chan said in his staff memo, the changes in the media landscape have been gathering speed. They are structural in nature, driven by evolving advertising and readership trends.
I'm happy to say we are starting this transformation from a position of strength. We are still making good revenues in the newspaper business, we have healthy margins and have built up strong reserves for SPH. We also have commanding brands and strong customer relationships.
SPH's aspiration is to grow and be the leading media company in this region. To achieve this, we must continue to expand both our core and non-core operations, and constantly look for new areas of growth. But we must adapt to changing industry realities, and need to make trade-offs in order to grow.
We have completed a comprehensive review of all divisions in SPH. The CEO spoke of how we have reduced management layers and reviewed supervisory spans of control. Overall, we now have a leaner, more agile and more efficient SPH, better aligned with our business aspirations.
As part of this review, we have redesigned our English and Malay Newspapers Division (EMND) newsrooms, and also redefined processes and job targets for our journalists. We have strengthened our digital capabilities and want to be better able to deliver our content across print and digital platforms.
The CEO also announced the creation of two new divisions: a digital division and a media strategy and analytics division. SPH has added more than 70 new staff positions, mainly in the digital area.
For EMND (of which The Straits Times is a part), our aim is to build high-performing multi-platform newsrooms that will serve the evolving needs of readers and advertisers in the years ahead.
We have also taken a hard look at the current work we do and trimmed manning levels across SPH. After much deliberation, we decided to reduce headcount in the following ways:
By removing some existing vacancies;
By allowing natural attrition (that is, not replacing some staff who leave);
Through retirement and expiry of some re-employment contracts; and
By redeploying some employees to new roles.