SPH shuts three magazine titles Cleo, Shape and Young Parents, 140 retrenched

Cleo Magazine Singapore. (PHOTO: SPH Magazines)
Cleo Magazine Singapore. (PHOTO: SPH Magazines)

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has shut three magazine titles as part of its efforts to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its advertising revenue.

The news comes as SPH announced yesterday that it was retrenching 140 employees from media sales and marketing.

Young women's magazine Cleo, bi-monthly parenting magazine Young Parents and Shape magazine are the affected titles. The media conglomerate is currently working through the closures with staff.

Two staff members from the magazine division who were unaffected by the retrenchment exercise spoke to Yahoo Lifestyle SEA about the announcement on 18 August.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a magazine staffer expressed her shock.

"This exercise is even more brutal than the last one because many people didn't think the company would retrench further...it’s happened," she said.

One writer, who also declined to reveal her name, was surprised to read about the closure of Shape magazine through the news as it was not disclosed at an internal meeting.

She revealed that two art designers were axed at an undisclosed magazine title. “I am a bit surprised because I thought they would keep one designer to do the design work. They were mentally prepared because teams tend to get smaller when you stop publishing magazine(s),” she added.

“Having been around for the past few retrenchment exercises, you get butterflies in the stomach (the bad kind) while anticipating the call. I feel quite sad for my (affected) colleagues and I’m worried about my future in this media industry,” she added.

Besides the closure of the three titles, Yahoo Lifestyle SEA understands that six people have been retrenched from Her World magazine while two people from Singapore Women’s Weekly magazine were let go.

In response to queries from Yahoo Lifestyle SEA, a spokesperson for SPH said, "These magazine titles will be available online in digital format only and we will not be adding any new content moving forward."

In a filing to the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday, SPH said that 140 staff from the media solutions division and SPH Magazines would be “affected”. The retrenchment costs of about S$8 million will be recognised in Q4 FY20.

SPH's core business is in the publishing of newspapers, magazines and books in both print and digital editions. The group's stable of magazines includes well-known titles such as The Peak, Harper's Bazaar and Singapore Women's Weekly.

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