CLEO refreshes print magazine for digital-loving Millennial audience

By Hafizah Hazahal

SPH Magazines



How does a magazine brand created for young adults 25 years ago maintain its raison d'être in the current age? For CLEO, there are no shortcuts, so the team went back to the drawing board.

A lot of primary and secondary research and many first-hand observations later, two things immediately stood out for the team.

  1. Video is the content format commanding Millennials’ attention today. Our survey of Singapore Millennials found they spend an average of 92 minutes watching videos each day from a variety of sources. They also actively share them to entertain and connect with friends.
  2. Millennials love being a part of a community. They are commonly misunderstood as being anti-social, preferring to look at screens instead of meeting people. However, the idea of a “community” has evolved for this generation. While previous generations depend on physical spaces and face-to-face interactions to create and feel a sense of community, Millennials are building communities across the world, thanks to social media. In fact, the “always on” nature of social media means this generation is possibly interacting with their virtual friends much more than their predecessors.
Understanding Millennials’ reading and viewing habits helped CLEO develop a more appropriate offering to its audience.
Understanding Millennials’ reading and viewing habits helped CLEO develop a more appropriate offering to its audience.


CLEO is convinced that while print still maintains its appeal, it will be able to engage and add much more value to its Millennial readers by getting into the digital space. This resulted in a strategic overhaul of the magazine, cutting across print and online platforms.

Integrated media reaching readers anytime, anywhere

In its refreshed version, CLEO’s print publication will play a primary role as a “shop window” for all its online platforms. Here’s how it works:

  • All print stories will be available online and will be further augmented with additional content.
  • QR codes will be used to direct print readers to CLEO’s online stories.

In the digital space, there will be more video series involving influencers and local celebrities — all of which are open for brand tie-ups. Editorial staffers will also build their own social influence by sharing their vertical knowledge through various episodic series.

CLEO will also channel dedicated efforts and resources to grow and engage its reader community with CLEO Society. For example, print stories featuring CLEO Society members will have a QR code directing readers to the Society sign-up page. There will also be events involving the community, which may potentially be another source of revenue for the magazine.

Riding the digital wave

CLEO’s refresh is just one of the many exciting developments in SPH Magazines. In the past year, digital technology has figured centrally in our initiatives to deliver more value to our readers.

For example, we leveraged Augmented Reality to create a virtual character for the country’s most-read Chinese women’s magazine to appeal to a new growing community of affluent, bilingual women. This was well received by readers and advertisers alike. We also continue to make strides in our popular WIFI Library solution, which amplified the distribution network of magazines.

In 2019, we are delving deeper into audience profiling through machine learning or Artificial Intelligence, which will allow advertisers to reach more finely targeted audiences.

About Hafizah Hazahal

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