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Singapore Press Holdings on the journey from print to digital to video

Geoff Tan is managing director of Singapore Press Holdings Magazines. Here, in this exclusive interview for FIPP, he talks about the evolving nature of publisher content from print, to digital, and now towards putting video at the forefront of a successful publishing strategy. Video communicates much more emotive engagement, and is becoming an increasingly popular choice for advertisers and audiences alike.

Is there still a future for print in an industry increasingly dominated by digital? (0:02)

 Well print is definitely still part of the process, I think – we’re not out there to talk about the demise of print. But print has to fall within a system of what we deliver in terms of touch points to the clients, which are advertisers, in terms of where they’re reaching out and how they’re reaching out to readers as well. So print is part of the equation, but digital comes in very strongly as part of what we call our magazines 360 concept.

With the ascendancy of mobile does content have to become more short-form? (0:28)

It’s a mish-mash of sorts. It depends on the time and the occasion of when a person consumes the content. It really has to be fitted within the person’s particular area of influence: whether they’re at home, whether they’re on the bus, whether they’re sitting down in a coffee lounge or something like that. So long-form, short-form stuff will be able to be fitted into what we call the trending period across the day, in terms of how content is consumed. So we need to do a lot of research, a lot of data points to identify, and that’s how we’re going to nail down which parts of the content resonate best with the readership at large.

So do you now offer your advertisers a choice of content on different platforms? (1:11)

I think previously advertisers were really just giving us their ads. They’d created them and they were saying just run them. Today it’s a little bit different, where they do have part of that, but the other part of the deal is really to do with content that’s being weaved. In digital I think part pf that particular initiative is to bypass the ad-blockers. In print, storytelling has become really important for us as well. So native content, content marketing, custom content solutions, these are kind of the buzzwords that we’re working around with advertisers to build a brand into incidental occasions where the story is the hero but the content is definitely there – not flat in your face but weaved within the particular unraveling of the storyline.

Despite the increasing popularity of native advertising content marketing still seems to rule the digital world (1:58)

In Singapore I think it’s still in the infant stages, but a lot of advertisers and brand owners are starting to talk a lot about it. Because I think a lot of the brands that are with us are internationally orientated as well so they’ve come from different parts of the world that may be a little more matured in the area of content marketing. But I think Singapore is fast catching up. Because the broadband speeds have been escalating, and stuff like that, a lot of times content marketing is the one that resonates better with brands.


Do you think the future of publishing will be dominated by video? (2:32)

I think video is going to be a major play for us, so we have invested into video companies ourselves to be able to take that content message on the multi-platform way of amplification. Video actually communicates a lot of emotive for them rather than what they just read… so content read in print, it’s fine. But if you can take that across into the tablet versions and you can hit a button, and that particular person who you’ve seen in the print starts to come alive… that’s the type of content that we started to take along the spectrum: from print to website to tablet versions enabling digital technology to actually influence the whole process of communication.

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