Print a treat for the senses at SPH

Imagine not only reading your newspaper, but tasting it, smelling it and watching it as well. Is this a glimpse into the future of reader engagement? You might think so, but in this industry the future arrives in a hurry, and all of these initiatives are either current or planned strategies at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).

Geoff Tan, general manager, SPH NewMedia, and senior vice-president and head of strategic marketing, spoke Friday morning at the iNK+BEYOND session on strategies for multiple platforms. His audience heard him describe a newspaper that not only engages a reader’s sense of touch, but other senses as well. Ink and print technologies have allowed the integration of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste into the pages of newspapers, said Tan, and that includes a technique that until recently was limited to the big screen.

The 3D paper, editorial and advertising, was published May 12 of last year. Glasses were distributed with the edition, said Tan, who added you could read the edition without the glasses, and it still looked good, but the impact was enhanced by wearing the specs.

A video panel on a page is another innovation that’s playing well on the printed page. “The incredible thing about this screen is that it can play up to 40 minutes of video.” And although scented advertisements have been around for some time, new nano technology, where scents are embedded into microscopic capsules that are then mixed with the ink, is creating an enhanced experience.

There are 18 newspapers in Singapore and SPH owns 17 of them. The company captures about 51 percent of advertising expenditures in the market. As with other newspaper companies, print still drives revenue for SPH, and Tan spoke of how the company is making its print product more sexy and inviting for readers and advertisers. Strategies include ad formats that merge and mingle with editorial content. 

Tan also spoke about the evolution of media sales, where advertisers come to see media companies like SPH as a “one-stop shop” for messaging needs.The strategy involved a spin on the world-wide-web tag, turning it around to be multi-media, multi-platform, and multi-channel. “The important thing is that we need to put all these things together in one focal point. We can bring a 360 solution to them … to serve their communication needs in every aspect.”

Advertisers want customized solutions for needs, said Tan, who finished his session with a quote from an anonymous source. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll still be among the stars.”


Look for indepth coverage of Geoff Tan’s presentation Strategies for Multiple Platforms in the upcoming June/July edition of The Publisher.