Business Times finds new revenue stream with wine event

By Natalie Koh

The Business Times

Singapore, Singapore


When you think of The Business Times (BT), wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind. But it comes as little surprise that many of our readers are connoisseurs in the elegant art of wine tasting.

In the latest edition of The Business Times Wine Challenge, we brought together CEOs and wine experts to select their top choices from a wide selection submitted by registered wholesale companies and merchants in Singapore.

We received a record of 176 entries, exceeding our cap of 150 entries. A panel of carefully selected industry experts shortlisted the number of bottles to 50 for the finals.

A panel of CEOs, who are also wine connoisseurs, conducted a blind tasting of the wines. The panel scored each wine on aroma, complexity, balance, intensity, and length of flavour.

In October, the winners were announced at an awards ceremony held at the offices of Swiss banking group UBS AG, attended by Singapore’s business elite and UBS’ high-net-worth clients.

The Business Times Wine Challenge held at partner UBS brought a panel of CEO connoisseurs together.
The Business Times Wine Challenge held at partner UBS brought a panel of CEO connoisseurs together.

The event was conceptualised with these objectives in mind:

  • Boost The Business Times brand awareness.

  • Create a new high-profile platform to connect with CEOs and industry leaders.

  • Establish a new revenue stream.

As Singapore’s top financial newspaper, we have always placed a priority on growing and maintaining strong relationships with high-profile industry leaders, and the BT Wine Challenge gave us an opportunity to do just that.

We succeeded in all objectives. In line with boosting brand awareness, the BT Wine Challenge has built a name for itself. Winning distributors now use the event to advertise their wines, which always results in their relevant allocations being sold out.

The event also was well attended by Singapore’s business elite and high-net-worth clients of UBS, our main partner, allowing us to connect with them. Investment from UBS meant the event led to positive revenue. Entrance fees for participating wineries and distributors helped defray some of the costs.

The Business Times prides itself on being Singapore’s top financial newspaper, with access to a network of high-profile individuals that no other news publication has. The challenge builds on the BT brand by leveraging our connection with that network, specifically with CEOs.

BT’s Wine Challenge brings high-profile clients together for wine judging.
BT’s Wine Challenge brings high-profile clients together for wine judging.

This is why the full name of the event is The Business Times Wine Challenge — CEOs’ Choice. We wanted to have the winning wines reflect the choices of actual drinkers and business leaders. 

In support of the event, BT featured each of the 50 “Judges’ Picks” in print and online over five Saturdays, from September 5 to October 3, in the run-up to the awards ceremony.

This included a standalone section catering specifically to the BT Wine Challenge, which included all the related stories, available to read on our Web site for free.

Apart from the return on increasing brand awareness among our targeted audience, the event generated profitability through the strategic partnership with UBS AG.

Both parties worked together to mutually benefit from hosting The Business Times Wine Challenge 2015 by boosting brand awareness of both the UBS and BT brands, as well as establishing the brands in connection with a high profile network.

At a time when print subscriber rates are falling, The Business Times is constantly looking for new, out-of-the-box ways to generate revenue. The BT Wine Challenge was a risk, but one that paid off. Thanks to its rousing success, the event will continue to be a staple in our annual calendar and we look forward to this year’s event.

About Natalie Koh

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