SPH Media Trust has found inconsistencies in their recent data reporting, a spokesman for the company revealed on Monday (9 Jan).
This was discovered after an internal review that spanned 1.5 years.
As a result of these findings, a number of senior staff have left the company or been “taken to task”.
In March 2022, the company started a review of their internal processes, an SPH Media spokesman told The Straits Times (ST), one of the newspapers under their publication.
This review spanned 1.5 years, from September 2020 to March 2022.
It encompassed their financial year (FY) 20/21 — from September 2020 to August 2021 — as well as the first two quarters of FY21/22.
Notably, SPH Media was hived off from Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) to become non-profit entity in December 2021.
Thus, the period under review includes both their time as part of a listed company, as well as their current incarnation as a company limited by guarantee (CLG).
During the review, “some inconsistencies in the reporting of the data” emerged, the spokesman said.
These included circulation data.
Some examples of these inconsistencies were:
The inconsistencies in circulation data reporting resulted in the inaccurate count of between 85,000 and 95,000 copies daily on average, the spokesman said.
This applied to all SPH Media titles, i.e.:
The discrepancy represents 10-12% of their reported daily average circulation.
After these discoveries, SPH Media immediately took steps to strengthen processes, the spokesman said.
As a result, several senior employees involved in the data reporting inconsistencies have left the company or been “taken to task”.
The company didn’t elaborate on how they took the staff “to task”.
They also didn’t reveal the staff members’ names.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said on Monday (9 Jan) that they were aware of reports on SPH Media’s findings, ST reported.
In response, the ministry has asked SPH Media to share its full findings.
They’ve recently received the company’s internal report on the case, MCI noted, adding,
MCI will undertake our own review to determine if these inconsistencies in circulation data affect the decision to fund, and the amount the Government committed to fund SPH Media. MCI expects SPH Media to fully cooperate with our review.
In Feb 2022, Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo said the Government would provide up to S$900 million to SPH Media over five years.
SPH in its publicly listed form had seen drastic losses before the decision was made to switch its media business to a non-profit business model.
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