SPH Media’s circulation saga has been the talk of the town recently and the Association of Advertising and Marketing Singapore (AAMS) has released a statement expressing its disappointment.
President of AAMS Shufen Goh, said in a stern statement that there is absolute transparency needed from the major newspaper group that not just generations of Singaporeans, but so many local and multinational businesses have grown up with.
“As a national medium, and virtually the voice of Singapore, one would expect its responsibility to extend well beyond just commercial boundaries," she said, adding:
Circulation not being the basis of promoting advertising sales does not exonerate the practice of falsifying circulation figures.
Nonetheless, AAMS acknowledged that the issue was uncovered through an internal audit by SPH, and steps have already been taken by the company to rectify the practice.
“As a long-standing industry body, we look forward to meeting with SPH to bring back this trust and work together to ensure the highest standards for the AdMarcom industry,” said Goh
The AAMS (Association of Advertising and Marketing Singapore) was formed at the end of 2019, after the merger of both the 4As (Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Singapore, formed in 1948) and IAS (Institute of Advertising Singapore, formed in 1990). AAMS now represents numerous aspects of advertising, marketing, media owners, and marketing communications.
The issue of circulation numbers being tampered with was admitted by the media house earlier this week, sending the industry into wide-spread speculation of how such an incident could arise, and the impact on advertisers. According to a memo sent out by SPH Media chief executive Teo Lay Lim, seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, she said the company’s media rates and advertising packages are sold based on reach and readership data from independent third-party research agencies.
Teo added data on reach and readership is collected periodically via a survey panel that is statistically representative of the Singapore population. Teo added this data is obtained and verified by the likes of research agencies such as GfK. She clarified further that the company’s media rates and advertising packages are based on reach and readership of individual titles, as well as SPH Media’s solutions as a whole.
Unfortunately, despite what SPH has done to be transparent and restore confidence, it looks like they still have some ways to go when it comes to restoring trust with the public and industry. According to CARMA, a global media intelligence company, sentiments continue to remain largely negative when it comes to SPH with 52.7% of netizens expressing negative comments and only 1.8% of them being positive.
Common themes online according to CARMA question the relevancy of print media in its current format or if those who left SPH were “at fault or made to fall on their sword”. Taking action against SPH was also brought up which suggest that SPH might need to be even more transparent if they want to regain the trust of the public and relevant stakeholders.