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Project will draw on A*STAR’s sentiment analysis technology for SPH to craft headlines that encourage more readers to click on informative news


Singapore, 1 October 2018 - Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (“SPH”) has signed an agreement with A*STAR’s Institute of High Performance Computing (“IHPC”) to create a system that can optimise news headlines for higher virality, so as to improve audience engagement and media literacy.


Building on IHPC’s proprietary technology for sentiment and emotion analysis, the collaboration will first identify elements of news headlines that are correlated with article popularity. SPH and IHPC will then develop a system that conducts affective analysis to predict the virality of an article based on its headline. This system will enable SPH journalists, including those based at Singapore's most-read news title The Straits Times, to test different headlines for their articles, before choosing the one that would be most effective in capturing a reader’s interest and attention.


Past studies have shown that up to 80 per cent of readers only scan news headlines without reading the full articles, and that the news headline is one of the most important components in a reader’s decision to read an article. While many news publishers put out simultaneous variations of headlines for the same article to test reader responses to each, this collaboration aims to go a step further by isolating specific components of a headline that influences a reader’s emotions and hence his or her decision to read the full news article.


IHPC will work with SPH’s data science team from the company’s Media Strategy and Analytics department, which oversees efforts to use data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve on SPH’s media products. Three months ago, SPH announced its partnership with DC Frontiers to develop a content recommendation engine powered by machine learning.


Mr Anthony Tan, Deputy CEO of SPH, said: “Article headlines are a key factor in attracting readers to delve into an article. This project will help our newsrooms better understand the emotional impact of different words and phrases used in headlines, so we can improve our engagement with readers and guide them towards important and informative news without resorting to clickbait.”


Professor Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director of A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC), said: “A*STAR is committed to supporting SPH, Singapore’s leading media organisation, in its innovation journey, to remain competitive and differentiated in the face of a rapidly changing global landscape. This partnership is testament to A*STAR’s research capabilities in artificial intelligence that can be applied across the media and services industries.”



Co. Regn. No. 198402868E 

For more information, please contact:

Andrew Lum

Assistant Manager

Corporate Communications & CSR
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: +65 6319 1982

Derrick Wong

Senior Officer

Corporate Communications

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

DID: +65 6517 7970


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.


SPH's core business is publishing of newspapers, magazines and books in both print and digital editions.  It also owns other digital products, online classifieds, radio stations and outdoor media.


On the property front, SPH owns 70% in a real estate investment trust called SPH REIT which comprises Paragon, a premier upscale retail mall and medical suite/office property in Orchard Road, The Clementi Mall, a mid-market suburban mall and The Rail Mall, a stretch of shopping and dining outlets along Upper Bukit Timah Road. SPH also owns and operates The Seletar Mall.  It is developing a new commercial cum residential site at Woodleigh. It also has a stake in Chinatown Point and acquired a portfolio of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) in the United Kingdom.


It is in the aged care sector and owns Orange Valley, Singapore’s largest private nursing home operator.


SPH runs a regional events arm and a chain of Buzz retail outlets.  It also invested in the education business.


For more information, please visit


About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) 

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that spearheads economic oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit society.


As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. 


We play a key role in nurturing and developing a diversity of talent and leaders in our Agency and research entities, the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit