The problem with the former philosophy, he says “is that the box is still there and in challenging circumstances, you can still be tempted to jump back in. When the box is ‘burnt’ and no more present, you cannot help but continue to ideate and bring new revenue models to the table!”
Tan will join an international panel of speakers during the World Newspaper Congress in Kiev (2-5 September next) in a session dedicated to discussing those new revenue models being served up. That includes Jacob Møller, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for Schibsted in Sweden; Florian Bauer, Board Member of pricing specialist Vocatus in Germany; Leonyd Bershidsky, Editor-in-Chief, of Forbes magazine in Ukraine; and Eduardo Smith, Vice President of RBS Group in Brazil.
With responsibilities that include new business modeling and coming up with innovative sales initiatives – as well as championing a Print-Plus business strategy harnessing new technologies and evangelising SPH’s integrated media ideology to advertisers – Tan torches that box on a regular basis. And with impressive results and accolades, including being named “2011 Marketer of the Year” by PANPA (Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association).
We interviewed Tan via email this past week to see what new initiatives SPH is cooking up and how the company’s recent launched projects are progressing.
WAN-IFRA: What are some of the opportunities you see for SPH or new initiatives you are working on?
TAN: We are excited about the future and what the dynamically-evolving media landscape has in store for us. It is with this positive attitude that we have been able to pursue new initiatives cutting across a myriad of spectrums. We are exploring and experimenting with anything and everything that has the slightest semblance of a business model. From multi-sensory advertising through to content extensions; from video pre-roll strategies through to gamification. And the list goes on.
WAN-IFRA: While it is an uncertain time for many publishers around the world, for a publisher like SPH, and especially you in your position, it is also an exciting time to be creating new products and business... what are your thoughts?
TAN: Creating new products, birthing and/or acquiring new businesses, looking across the depth and breadth of the value chain, tapping on the attributes new media brings, solidifying relationships with front-line decision-makers – these and a whole lot more are par for the course for us. We are constantly trawling for new ideas, we are regularly meeting with technology providers, we are always excited about new ways of doing things, we are deeply interested in what our customers think - all in the name of bringing in the additional dollar for SPH.
WAN-IFRA: Just over a year ago, you launched the “SPH is On” advertising concept… How has that helped to bring in new revenue streams for SPH?
TAN: ‘SPH IS ON’ is a cross-media ideology that effectively amplifies advertisers’ brand and product propositions across multiple touch-points. This fully-integrated solutions-based approach helps advertisers connect with consumers via SPH’s extensive suite of ON-PRINT, ON-LINE, ON-AIR, ON-MOBILE, ON-SCREEN, and ON-GROUND products.
‘SPH IS ON’ also represents a pro-active and customer-oriented approach to how we consult for our advertisers’ communication needs. And because we know our media best, SPH salespeople are trained to come up with ideas and concepts that best answer the clients’ brief.
‘SPH IS ON’ helps our customers see the advantages of working with one partner-of-choice who can satisfy their every need. Marketing and selling our media in this way has led to a greater uptake of our inventory across the board resulting in revenue streams that are far greater than the individual parts.
WAN-IFRA: What was the larger challenge: convincing advertisers of integrated approaches and SPH as a consultant, or the same for your staff and training them to execute this strategy?
TAN: Convincing advertisers is easy – they would prefer to deal with one point of contact rather than multiple ones. Advertisers can see the advantages in working with a large media player who can help them amplify their communications seamlessly across multiple touch-points.
Convincing staff is more of a challenge. Changing their mindsets, from the selling of one media to the selling of integrated solutions require time, training, and hand-holding in order to win them over. It’s still a work in progress, but slowly and surely, it is being accomplished.
Video from INK+BEYOND newspaper conference in Vancouver in April 2011.