Singapore Press Holding (SPH) released their 2016 Annual Report and their daily average circulation for their print newspaper continue to nosedive southwards. Digital subscription has gone up significantly but pales in comparison with total Singapore Internet Users.

Print20162015YtoY
Straits Times/Sunday Times277,100304,300-8.94%
Business Times28,10029,200-3.77%
Berita Harian / Berita Minggu37,70044,600-15.47%
New Paper61,70070,200-12.11%
Lianhe Zabao143,000148,600-3.77%
Lianhe Wanbao70,80082,500-14.18%
Shin Min Daily100,100120,200-16.72%
Source: http://sph.listedcompany.com/misc/annualreport/2016b/SPH_AR2016_daily_average.pdf)

At a high of 389,300 in 2008, the daily average print circulation for the Straits Times / Sunday Times has dropped to 277,100 in 2016.


300,000 has always been the magic number for The Straits Times, especially in getting advertising dollars. With an estimated pass on rate of 3, most ad sales folks will share that the readership is close to 1 million a day.

At 277,100, a pass on rate of 3 will give it 831,00 readers a day which is getting further away from the 1 million readership target.

In his quote to announce the merging of My Paper and The New Paper, Mr Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of English/Malay/Tamil Media group, also highlighted the magical 300,000 readers, which the merger of the two papers will bring about.

Said Mr Warren Fernandez,

"Merging TNP with My Paper, making it free and increasing its circulation to up to 300,000 copies, is a bold decision to serve our readers with a strong product and with revamped content."

Digital for SPH has improved significantly from 2015, but once you take in the number of Singapore Internet users, the reach for digital still has lot of space to grow and readers to capture.

DigitalSingapore Internet Users20162015YtoY2016 vs SG Internet Users
Straits Times/Sunday Times4,699,204116,20074,10056.82%2.47%
Business Times4,699,2048,8007,20022.22%0.19%
Berita Harian / Berita Minggu4,699,2041,6001,00060.00%0.03%
New Paper4,699,20451,60039,80029.65%1.10%
Lianhe Zabao4,699,20445,60014,100223.40%0.97%
Lianhe Wanbao4,699,20431,2007,700305.19%0.66%
Shin Min Daily4,699,2042000200.00%0.0043%
Source: http://sph.listedcompany.com/misc/annualreport/2016b/SPH_AR2016_daily_average.pdf)



My son is entering Primary 3 next year and we will soon be introduced to those Arithmetic questions that require a bit of thinking to get the answer. The challenge is you can't use Algebra to answer the question.

Below is the introduction to such a question.

Amanda and Mary had 28 stickers altogether.
Amanda had 10 stickers more than Marry
How many stickers did Mary have?


Block diagram












Initially my approach was this and found it was wrong. I took 28/2-10=8 (Mary having 8 stickers) thinking that if you took the total and divide by 2, both will get the same amount. Since one got 10 more, the other would have gotten 10 less.

However, you don't get the right answer when you check. If Mary had 8 stickers, this means Amanda would have gotten 18 stickers. So 8+18=26 which is the wrong answer.

I tried an alternative approach which I read somewhere that you subtract the total with the difference and divide it by 2. 

Arithmetic 
Step 1: 28-10=18
Step 2: 18/2=9

So Mary had 9 stickers. If you check the answer, Amanda would have 19 stickers and their total stickers would be 28. 

I tried to convince myself with the working and answer with algebra and it made sense.

Alegebra
Let X be the number of stickers Mary had.
So Amanda had (X+10 stickers).

Step 1: X+(X+10)=28 is the total number of stickers.
Step 2: 2X+10=28
Step 3: 2X=28-10=18
Step 4: X=18/2=9
Mary had 9 stickers. 

As you can see, Arithmetic Step 1 & 2 is equivalent to Algebra Step 3 & 4. As such my 2nd approach is the right and I am now convinced why you deduct the "Differences" from the total and then divide it by 2. 

I expect future questions to  be tougher and I do hope to share with you. 




Singapore will soon exempt local operators, Singapore Pools and Turf Club, from online gambling ban and the sites will be ready in November 2016.

Ministry of Home Affairs explained that a complete ban on remote gambling drives demand and activities underground, and may create larger incentives for criminal syndicates to target Singapore."

Yet in a 2012 survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCG) found that those who gamble online have the poorest control.

https://app.msf.gov.sg/Portals/0/Summary/research/EDGD/Gambling%20participation%20survey%202011.pdf
 Source: https://app.msf.gov.sg/Portals/0/Summary/research/EDGD/Gambling%20participation%20survey%202011.pdf

For those who indulged in online gambling, 30.4% said they gambled for a longer period than they planned to, 33.3% gambled with more money than they planned and 29.2% gambled more frequently they planned to. 

Will launching the online gambling sites be like opening a Pandora Box that will create more issues in the future?



There was a time whenever I heard the title sales and marketing, I would cringe a little. However, doing channel sales now, a little dash of marketing can do wonders to your sales funnel.

If the end is closing the deal, then the starting point of the sales journey is get a lead. In a traditional setting, that lead generation portion is often left to the marketing team. In today's Internet social media world, the salesperson with that dash of marketing will outsell those who draw the line between sales and marketing.

The American Marketing Association most recently defined marketing as "the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Isn't the salesperson the best to do tall these?

Today the medium and distribution channel are almost free. You could easily start a blog in seconds, with Blogger, Wordpress or event start a new post on Linkedin. If you want to do a video, you can easily host it on Youtube, without the need to worry about the technicalities of hosting a video.

For the distribution channel, there is email and all you need to do is send an email to your contacts with the link to the content. Or you could add them in Linkedin as contacts and share your post on this social network.

When you meet a lead for the first time, you could easily share with the lead with you have a blog or a post that address his/her concern or maybe insights into the industry.

Such activities may help to build the relationship with the lead and beats being just a salesperson emailing a sales brochure.

A Phone Call A Day To Get That Sale



I been listening to several sales podcasts recently and one of the common tips that they give is that you should make the phone call daily to touch base with your sales prospects.

I have the additional task of building the company's partner base and calling partners on a regular basis is also part of parcel of getting them to help bring me more customers.

Today, a phone call help closed a deal.

Sounds easy yet behind the phone call was some hard work and creative thinking to get the deal.

This deal was considered as one that is handed to me on a plate as it was a maintenance deal to be renewed. For maintenance deals, the customer have already been using the company's solution for at least a year so there isn't the challenge of having to do the whole introduction spill again.

Getting the appointment to close the deal was, on the other hand, the toughest part. This was because the customer was quite busy and had a tight schedule for a meeting. There were times when I called and the customer was too busy to pick up.

So the traditional method of closing the deal was
Step 1 - Get the appointment
Step 2 - During the appointment, discuss the details of the deal
Step 3 - Return to office and submit the quote
Step 4 - Wait for customer's approval.

Here's where the creativity kicked in.

Step 1 and Step 2 were currently the blockers that prevented me from moving forward with the maintenance deal. As such, I decided to try skipping Step 1 and 2 and go direct to Step 3.

The customer did mention he wanted some add-ons but didn't give any details. So I made an estimation on the add-ons, created the quote and emailed the customer before the weekend. I sweetened the deal to include an upgrade to a hardware as the current hardware would be phased out due to some government requirement in April 2017.

Maybe it helped that the quote was send on a Friday and probably the customer had the time to read it over the weekend.

This morning, though, I listened to a podcast from advancedsellingpodcast.com and one of the motivators was to "Go to work and make that phone call". Motivated I was, and I did the phone call to the customer.

I was rather surprise that the customer answered, but i had to keep my cool and treat the call as per normal.

As it turned out, the customer did read the quote and was ready to extend the maintenance. There was a question on the need for the change of the hardware but I was fully prepared for that.

The lesson of the day - Do something different and make that phone call.



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