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Straits Times Classified launches new mobile app

SPH’s patent-pending technology enables users to search through print advertisements and to share the information easily, just like how they appear in the newspaper.

Singapore, 27 October 2014 - Singapore Press Holdings’ Print Classified has unveiled a new reader-friendly technology that will allow users to search through the e-paper version of The Straits Times Classified that is currently available free on mobile apps for both tablets and smartphones on iOS platform.

For readers who are too busy to browse through the Classified pages, they can use The Straits Times Classified mobile apps to search for the items or services that they are looking for. For instance, if a reader is looking for plumbing services, they can search using the keyword “plumbing” and all advertisements that contain this word will be highlighted for their attention. Similarly, if they are looking for a property in Orchard Road, the keyword will throw up all the relevant ads so that they can go through them one by one. With a simple touch, they can also copy or share the entire ad through various means such as email, phone message or via the social media as long as the related apps are installed on their mobile devices.

Mr Leslie Fong, Senior Executive Vice President of SPH’s Marketing Division, noted that while newspapers are facing the challenges from digital advertising which is seen as a cheaper alternative, the days of print advertising are by no means numbered. “Print advertisements will continue to be relevant, especially if we continue to make them exciting and impactful, through the use of innovative and creative ideas. The introduction of this new service is an example of how we make use of technology to enable our print advertisers to reach out to an even larger audience easily. So now looking for things to buy in the Classified section will be easy - with the search function, you can see all the relevant ads. You can even forward the ads with ease for family members, staff or friends to follow up on the leads.”  

“From our own readership data, we have found that many of our readers enjoy the look and feel of the newspaper and thus, they prefer to read the e-paper version of The Straits Times even when they are browsing through their mobile devices. As this is our own technology, there is a plan to incorporate this to our news mobile apps so that readers can even search for relevant stories and information in our newspapers.”     
  
The new functions, which have been submitted to the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), are invented in-house by Mr Jerry Siah Eng Kiat, the Head of Operations of Print Classified and Mr Wong Zung En, Senior Project Lead of the Information Technology Division.   

“We try to mimic the behaviour of readers of our print products on our digital platform.  Readers store and share interesting advertisements found on our newspapers by cutting it out and passing it on to others.  We made it convenient for our readers to do so digitally by just one touch of the selected advertisement. Knowing that it may be cumbersome to scan through all the pages to locate for any advertisement of interests, we leverage on technology to do the search and present the results in the same way as if someone is pointing out the advertisement of interests to you within seconds,” Mr Siah said.

“Our methodology presents the search results on the digital pages without compromising the placement of the advertisements on the page or its contents.  Readers could store and share the advertisements but the layout and content of the advertisements are preserved in its original form the way advertisers would have wanted it to be,” Mr Wong added. 

Mr Tan Ooi Boon, Head of SPH Print Classified, said the introduction of the new service underscored the team’s mission to help all their customers and readers to “find, buy and sell” their products easily.   

“Our mission is to create an effective and relevant marketplace that will serve our buying needs of all customers well. By allowing our customers to search for our pages easily via our free mobile apps, we hope to bring back younger customers who have lost touch with the newspapers and even new readers who will find the new service to be very convenient.”

“There is still much we can do and we would be delighted if our readers and customers continue to let us know how we can serve you better, said Mr Tan, adding that readers can channel their feedback or suggestions to him directly at ooiboon@sph.com.sg or to class@sph.com.sg.
 
The new version of the Classified app is available for free on iOS platform currently.  Those who have previously downloaded the app should upgrade the app to enjoy the new service. The Android version will be available in future.  Users may download the app on Apple App Store using keyword “SPH Classified”.  Readers who have queries can call 6319 5900 or write toclass@sph.com.sg.


Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E 

For more information, please contact:

Tan Ooi Boon (Mr)
Head, Print Classified
Marketing Division
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd 
DID: 6319 5918
Email: ooiboon@sph.com.sg 

Deror Wong (Mr)
Senior Executive 
Corporate Communications & CSR 
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd 
DID: 6319 1226 
Email: derorw@sph.com.sg 

About SPH Classified

SPH Classified is part of the Marketing Division of Singapore Press Holdings Limited. It offers the most comprehensive marketplace for products, services and employment through Classified in The Straits Times, The New Paper, The Business Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News, myPaper & Klassified in Berita Harian.

About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.


Newspapers, Magazines and Book Publishing 

SPH has 19 titles licensed under the Newspaper Printing and Presses Act, of which nine are daily newspapers across four languages. On an average day, 2.8 million individuals or 69 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology. SPH's subsidiaries, Straits Times Press and Focus Publishing, produce quality books and periodicals in English and Chinese.


Internet and Mobile

Beyond print, SPH's suite of digital products includes online editions of newspapers and magazines, as well as mobile applications. Our online products enjoy 360 million page views with 23 million unique browsers every month. Apart from AsiaOne, SPH’s online and new media initiatives include ST701, the leading online marketplace for jobs (STJobs), property (STProperty), cars (STCars) and general classifieds (STClassifieds); Stomp, 
omy.sg and SPH Razor. Besides print, SPH newspapers are also available on online, smartphone and tablet platforms.


Broadcasting

In the radio business, SPH Radio Pte Ltd operates entertainment stations UFM 100.3 in Mandarin, as well as Kiss92 and HOT FM91.3 in English. SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. 


Events and Out-of-Home Advertising

SPH’s events arm Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions as well as large scale conferences in Singapore and the region. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its digital out-of-home platform SPHMBO. 


Properties

SPH REIT is a Singapore-based REIT established principally to invest, directly or indirectly, in a portfolio of income-producing real estate which is used primarily for retail purposes in Asia-Pacific, as well as real estate-related assets. SPH REIT is managed by SPH REIT Management Pte. Ltd., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings Limited. 

The initial portfolio of SPH REIT comprises the following two high quality and well located commercial properties in Singapore:

· Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property, well known for its upscale mall housing many luxury brands, located in the heart of Orchard Road; and
· The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall located in the centre of Clementi town, an established residential estate in the west of Singapore. 

The Seletar Mall is SPH's latest retail development and is expected to open at the end of 2014. This property is a potential asset to be injected into SPH REIT. SPH’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road. 

For more information, please visit 
www.sph.com.sg.