With the entire island nation of Singapore under lockdown in early April, Singapore Press Holdings made a bold and unusual move: It offered free three-month subscriptions to its digital magazines — for the entire country.
Maureen Wee, CEO of SPH Magazines, said the company hoped such a move would help foster a sense of unity and positivity in Singapore as readers stayed home to stay safe.
“COVID-19 has affected all of us in different ways; everyone is making little changes to adapt to this situation,” Wee said. “We hope that by sharing our content for free over the next few months, we can encourage and inspire our fellow Singaporeans … to keep pushing on through these trying times.”
Readers can select three months of complimentary access from up to three different magazine titles from across SPH’s offerings. The titles cover a wide range of content, including beauty, fashion, luxury lifestyle, business, and technology topics. Readers can make their selection from the publications Her World, FEMALE, Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore, HardWareMag, Home & Décor, ICON, Nuyou, The Peak, and Singapore Women’s Weekly.
To participate, readers follow a link to redeem the offer, then can immediately start reading the content. Interest in the campaign was has been quite positive, Wee said: “We are encouraged that our audience is accepting our invitation to engage with us and our content.”
Using entertainment to flatten the curve
Being able to provide the free digital subscriptions, Wee said, was the best way they knew of to show support to a country under quarantine. This reflects SPH Magazines’ commitment as a mainstream national media group to serve the public interest during a national healthcare emergency. And the company believes that kind of support to their country will help build lasting trust and confidence in their brand.
“In good times and in bad, SPH Magazines will remain one of the people’s go-to sources for credible and inspiring content. At the same time, we would like to be a worthy source of distraction and entertainment as they stay home more in a bid to flatten the curve.”
How the new base of readers will translate into subscriptions post-pandemic remains to be seen, but at the moment, Wee said, that isn’t SPH Magazines’ primary focus.
“This is a small gesture from SPH Magazines to show unity, positivity, and support to all,” she said. “It’s our way to say, ‘We’re with you, and we’re in this together.’”