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Shake up your Sunday


Singapore, 18 September 2003 - The Sunday Times will hit newsstands with a bold new look and beefed-up content on Sept 28.

Expect a bigger, all-colour paper, packed with stimulating stories on the people and issues that matter.

And since it’s Sunday, readers can take a breather from the busy work week and enjoy our expanded lifestyle, health and leisure coverage.

The new-look Sunday Times is the result of an intensive six-month effort designed to give readers what they want - a more relaxed, brighter read on Sunday.

Editor-in-Chief, English and Malay Newspapers Division, Mr Cheong Yip Seng, explained: "The new-look Sunday Times places a lot of emphasis on lifestyle, weekend activities, how to manage health, wealth and weekend time. This is of great interest to our target audience and we are going heavy on it. This is the right thing to do."

"On Sundays, readers want a change of pace, they want more leisurely reading material so we’ve got to adjust to a different drumbeat because the weekend pace is different.’’

A sneak preview of what’s new on Sunday:

* Sweat
A sports section with a twist. Comprehensive news plus exciting features on fitness trends and recreational sports.

* Gizmos
Shopping for the latest must-have gadget? We tell you how to pick them and where to buy them.

* Invest
Be a savvy investor - get free financial advice and know where to park your money.

* Click
Handy news and useful tips to make you net-savvy and help you navigate the Internet.

* Gen Y
A cool place for teens to make themselves heard.

* Talk
Newsmakers and readers bite back.

* LifeStyle
Have your fill of food, fashion and health features. There’s also a new guide with movie highlights, the week’s television listings and a list of upcoming events.

Readers can also win big, exciting prizes. Details in the first issue on Sept 28.

The Sunday Times, the Sunday edition of The Straits Times, was launched on December 20, 1931. It has a circulation of 391,000 copies.

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

For more information, please contact:

Peter Khoo
Assistant Vice President
Straits Times Branding
Tel: 6319 5512
Email: pkhoo@sph.com.sg

About SPH

Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading news and information provider, offering quality content for print, Internet, TV and radio. It publishes 14 newspapers in the four official languages and six lifestyle periodicals. Everyday, 2.78 million individuals, or 90 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH newspapers while online publication of its six main dailies enjoy some 120 million pageviews a month. SPH has ventured into the broadcast medium and operates two popular free-to-air TV channels, Channel U in Chinese and Channel i in English. It also operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, under a joint venture company UnionWorks with NTUC Media.

For more information, log on to http://www.sph.com.sg


About The Straits Times

The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore. Quality news, in-depth analyses, impactful commentaries and breaking stories are packaged to give readers riveting accounts of events in Singapore, the region, and beyond. The Straits Times has a circulation of 394,000 copies. It’s Internet version called Straits Times Interactive was launched in 1995. The site now garners an average of 30 million pageviews and 1.1 million unique visitors a month.

For more information, log on to http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg

Welcome address by Lawrence Loh, Senior Vice President, Marketing, at the trade launch of the new Sunday Times on 18 September 2003

Good evening friends, ladies and gentlemen,

A very warm welcome to the trade launch of the new Sunday Times.

At SPH, product improvement is a constant phenomenon, so as to remain relevant to both our readers and advertisers, but overhauling, like what we have done to The Sunday Times, is less common. Just like we can do wonders to a woman of 72 years, through state-of-the-art surgical and makeover techniques, so can we to The Sunday Times, which is 72 years old this year.

I shall not reveal the changes that were done to The Sunday Times. You will find out as the evening unfolds, suffice to say that it will be an exciting and compelling product.

The new Sunday Times debuts on 28 September 2003. We have started making our rounds to both advertisers and advertising agencies to promote it. Bookings for the inaugural issue are extremely encouraging. Of course, we do not hope to see the music stopping there. It must go on playing beyond the launch.

Thank you for gracing the occasion, yet another milestone for The Sunday Times. Enjoy the evening and when you get into the office tomorrow, the logical thing to do is to start planning for your ads in the new Sunday Times.

Opening remarks by Han Fook Kwang, Editor, The Straits Times, at the trade launch of the new Sunday Times on 18 September 2003

The Sunday Times is 72 years old this year. Not as old as The Straits Times which is 158 years old. But I think old enough for us to give it a new and exciting makeover.

In fact, soon after I became editor in September last year, I singled out improving the Sunday Times as one of my top priorities.

Why?

I believe there’s tremendous potential on Sunday which we’ve not exploited. In many other cities, the Sunday paper is the best-selling paper of the week including the London Sunday Times, The New York Times on Sunday and many others. They are different products from the weekday paper, in look, in content and run by a different set of people in the newsroom.

That’s not the case here. Our Sunday Times is a 7th day edition of The Straits Times. It looks the same as what we put out from Monday to Saturday, same look, basically same content with one or two additional features.

I wanted to take a completely fresh approach. I told the team doing the changes, headed by Felix Soh: find out what readers want to read on Sunday. If necessary, be as daring with changing the existing formula as possible. Have a paper which will appeal to the young because they’re our future. By young I don’t mean teenagers and only the 20-somethings. I include the 30s as well, even the 40s. I can call them young because I just turned 50 a few months ago.

I want to assure our older readers that they will find the new Sunday Times as appealing. All the strengths of The Straits Times that they have gotten used to, our credibility and authoritativeness, our comprehensive coverage of the region, our knowledge of the local scene, we will continue to bank on these qualities in the new Sunday Times.

But people do read the Sunday paper quite differently from the way they read it Monday to Friday. I’m not saying this just to sell the idea to you. We did a readership survey, and it’s very interesting, what our readers tell us.

On weekdays, they’re in a more serious reading mode. They read partly for work, what they think they need to know to go through the workday. So they don’t come across as too "suaku" or "bochap" a person.

But on Sunday, our readers tell us they’re a lot more relax, they read what they really like to read, not what they’re expected to read.

That means more lifestyle subjects. So we’ve taken this feedback into account in the new Sunday Times. Even our Sports pages now will tell you about things you can do to have an active lifestyle. It’s called Sweat.

As you’ll see when we highlight some of the pages later, we’ve a brand new way of naming them. After Sweat, there’s Think, Invest, Talk, Taste, Wear, and Go, Relax, and more.

After you’ve gone through the paper and done the things we’re suggesting you do, I think your Sundays will never be the same again.

We’ve given the paper a totally new look. It’s brighter, bolder, and there is more, because we’re giving readers 12 more pages, at no extra cost to them. They will cost us more than $1m a year but we believe in investing in our product and giving you value for your money.

What’s been the feedback so far? Our surveys show readers like what they saw. They say the paper projects a positive, upbeat and dynamic image that’s in tune with what readers want.

I am confident you too will find it a much improved and exciting product.

I wish you an enjoyable evening tonight, and hope that as you go around the various presentations, you will get to know more about what we’re trying to do with the new Sunday Times.

Thank you.