If you read the paper copy of the Straits Times, you’ve probably seen this advertisement several times. It encourages subscribers to subscribe directly to Singapore Press Holdings. You can charge your subscription directly to your credit card monthly. This is more convenient than having to pay your newspaper vendor monthly.
Under this arrangement, your newspaper vendor just needs to distribute newspapers. Billing and money collection is handled by Singapore Press Holdings. Sounds like a neat idea.
I wonder, is Mr R.V. Saminathan concerned that one day newspaper distribution will start to dwindle and perhaps even become a thing of the past?
Singapore Press Holdings could well distribute the Straits Times electronically. Indeed, there is already such an option. Many young people nowadays also dispense with receiving daily copies of the Straits Times. Some people just subscribe to weekend newspapers, because they don’t have time to read on weekdays, and they probably can read the paper copy in the office anyway.
Fortunately, for newspapers vendors, I think many people reading the Straits Times do still prefer to read the paper copy than an electronic copy online. But that’s right now. I feel things will change. After all, many people are quite happy to read online news. In fact, for some people, their primary source of news does not come from the Straits Times, but instead the myriad of online news sources.
I think this is Singapore Press Holding’s strategy: encourage direct subscription, so that they have vital subscriber information, then slowly sell them the idea of online subscriptions, or enticing subscribers wanting to cancel their paper newspapers to switch to online subscription instead. Newspaper vendors are history. Singapore Press Holdings is positioning themselves to survive the death of paper distribution.