SPH Media has received S$320M in Govt funding & did not meet KPIs: Josephine Teo

SPH Media received S$320M funding in FY2022 & FY2023, will get S$260M in FY2024

SPH Media Trust has received S$320 million of Government funding, said Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo.

It received the sum over the last two financial years (FYs).

This is part of the Singapore government’s efforts to give SPH Media a “fighting chance in the new media landscape”.

Mrs Teo also shared that although it maintained its overall reach, SPH Media did not meet all its key performance indicators (KPIs).

These include targets for digital reach, youth reach, vernacular reach, and average time spent on its websites and apps.

Josephine Teo speaks about SPH Media in Parliament

The extent of SPH Media’s Government funding so far was revealed by Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo on Friday (1 Mar).

She was speaking in Parliament at the Committee of Supply Debate 2024, where ministers speak on their respective ministries’ funding after the Budget statement.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

Her remarks on SPH Media were in response to a question from Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh on government funding provided to the non-profit entity.

Government funding SPH Media to give it ‘a fighting chance’

In her speech, Mrs Teo said that SPH Media, which publishes The Straits Times (ST) among other publications, “is facing its biggest challenge yet” due to digital disruption.

That’s why the Government decided to step in to give it “a fighting chance”.

Thus, S$320 million was disbursed to SPH Media over FY2022 and FY2023.

Around S$260 million has been budgeted to fund SPH Media in FY2024, she added.

This is because “a more challenging environment” is being anticipated.

Maintained overall reach but did not meet KPIs

Giving a breakdown of SPH Media’s funding, Mrs Teo said it goes towards three main areas: talent, technology, and vernacular capabilities.

As it plays a “crucial public service media role”, there are certain KPIs that SPH Media must meet. It should also report regularly on its performance.

Source: Google Maps

SPH Media maintained its overall reach and also gained “a modest increase” in digital subscriptions.

That said, if did not meet all its KPIs, specifically in the following areas:

  1. digital reach
  2. youth reach
  3. vernacular reach
  4. average time spent on its websites and apps

Thus, Mrs Teo said SPH Media needs to catch up considerably on its targets. As a result of failing to meet its KPIs, she also added:

It did not receive the full funding that was committed.

Funding put to ‘good use’

Mrs Teo noted that the funding disbursed has been put to good use.

SPH Media has been strengthening its digital systems to improve outreach and adopted a new digital content management system.

It also launched new mobile apps across its news titles in various languages.

Additionally, SPH Media has made efforts to improve staff retention and quality of its newsrooms via training, scholarships, and fellowships with overseas institutions.

SPH Media will need continued support

SPH Media’s results show that its efforts are “just the beginning”, Mrs Teo said, and it will need to do more to maintain its relevance.

Hence, it will also need continued support, she added.

She concluded by seeking support from the House to sustain public investment in public service media entities like SPH Media.

Read Mrs Teo’s full speech here.

Also read: Govt Will Continue SPH Media Funding As Falsified Data Does Not Affect Decision: Josephine Teo

Govt Will Continue SPH Media Funding As Falsified Data Does Not Affect Decision: Josephine Teo

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Featured image adapted from MCI Singapore on YouTube and Google Maps.

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