The Straits Times is reaching out to its subscribers and trying to convert new ones by selling fine wine. The promotion which is unrelated to its core newspaper business was launched in mid-December and has since been aggressively promoted through Facebook sponsored posts.
An insider from ST who spoke to this publication on conditions of anonymity said that newspapers can no longer afford to be just a news churner to remain sustainable. She defended ST Wines as being part of the newspaper’s branding efforts.
“Think of it as touchpoints – such touchpoints give our readers an opportunity to reassess their perceptions of our newspaper and form a different opinion,” she said.
“It is to build trust and to get them to think of us even when it is not news related,” she added.
Netizen Richmond Lim who commented on ST’s post on the topic in their Facebook said: “Media business revenue must be quite bad that they have to resort to a wine delivery service.”
ST’s parent company, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), reported a 43.8 percent slide in first quarter net profit ($45.7 million) recently. It reported that circulation revenue was up 1.8 percent compared to the same quarter in the previous year. But this increase could be bolstered by the newspaper upping its cover price in March last year.
The newspaper also reported a 13.5 percent fall in advertisement revenue in the same period.
SPH chief executive Alan Chan had then said that the media company “will focus on continued innovation and investment in the media business to stay ahead and stay relevant, improve cost efficiency with a leaner organisation and wage restraint measures, and grow business adjacencies to diversify revenue streams.”
In October last year, SPH culled 10 percent of its workforce in an effort to arrest declining revenue and profits.