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Josephine Teo: SMT did not get full funding due to unmet KPIs

MCI Minister Josephine Teo disclosed SPH Media Trust falling short of specific KPIs, leading to incomplete funding. Yet, MCI allocates about $260 million for SPH Media in FY 2024.



SINGAPORE: Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information, disclosed that SPH Media Trust (SMT) fell short of meeting certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), resulting in the media entity not receiving the committed full funding.

During the debate on The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) budget on Friday (1 March), responding to Leader of Opposition Pritam Singh’s enquiries, Ms Teo noted that SMT did not achieve its KPIs for digital reach, youth reach, vernacular reach, and average time spent on its websites and apps.

“Accordingly, it did not receive the full funding that was committed, ” she said these results indicate that the efforts expended so far are just the initial steps.

While she asserted that the government funding allocated to SPH Media has been “put to good use”, she acknowledged that SPH Media must intensify its efforts to sustain relevance in the dynamic media landscape.

Ms Teo further outlined that MCI has earmarked approximately S$260 million in funding for SPH Media in the fiscal year 2024, anticipating a more demanding environment.

This allocation is documented in MCI’s budget book, constituting part of the ministry’s comprehensive grant disbursement to various organizations.

To date, around S$320 million has been disbursed to SPH Media across the financial years 2022 and 2023.

In 2022, MCI announced a commitment to provide up to S$900 million in funding support for SPH Media Trust over the ensuing five years.

Mr Singh inquires about SPH Media Trust’s KPI performance

Earlier, Mr Singh in his cut on the MCI budget debate, highlighted that  Given the provision of taxpayer funding for SPH Media Trust (SMT), there is considerable public interest in how Singaporeans will be better served by the mainstream media in Singapore.

He emphasized that the government had previously communicated the rationale behind subsidizing SMT, citing reasons such as its transition into a digital news company, the preservation of local news media in vernacular languages, and the establishment of a trusted mainstream media.

“We were told public funding is necessary to support SPH Media Trust as the public will be well served by a mainstream media that is trusted.”

He then requested information regarding the stakeholders involved with SMT and sought clarification on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for SMT under the funding framework and its performance against these indicators after one year of subsidy.

Furthermore, Mr Singh queried whether the MCI has deemed SMT’s half-yearly updates satisfactory and how SMT has addressed its risk management framework.

Ms Teo: The funding dispersed has been “put to good use”

In response to Mr Singh’s queries, Ms Teo reiterated the critical role of the government in intervening to safeguard SPH Media, emphasizing its indispensable function in informing Singaporeans.

She acknowledged that SPH Media is confronting its most substantial challenge yet, given the profound disruptions caused by digitalization and social media in the broader media industry.

Ms. Teo highlighted the decline in readership, attributed to the abundance of choices available to audiences, and the sharp decrease in traditional revenue sources, with advertising increasingly shifting to social media and online platforms.

Contrary to characterizing these issues as unique to SPH Media, Ms Teo drew attention to the struggles faced by even well-established media entities, citing examples like the Washington Post’s substantial loss and the closure of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buzzfeed News.

She underscored that without government intervention, SPH Media might have faced a similar fate.

Ms Teo reiterated the government’s decision to support SPH Media, emphasizing that the funding is strategically directed towards talent, technology, and vernacular capabilities.

These areas, she noted, reflect the government’s commitment to promoting quality journalism, digital transformation, and upholding multiculturalism for the sake of public accountability and fiscal prudence.

They reflect the importance the government has placed on quality journalism digital transformation and upholding multiculturalism to ensure public accountability and fiscal prudence

Addressing the matter of stakeholders, Ms. Teo explained that SPH Media Trust includes representatives from various segments of society, ranging from commercial entities like DBS, UOB, and OCBC to local institutes of higher learning such as NUS, NTU, SMU, and SUTD.

“But ultimately SPH Media is accountable to Singaporeans. The news industry is a people-centric business and SPH Media has a crucial public service media role.”

Ms. Teo elaborated on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for SPH Media, emphasizing their role in tracking reach and engagement across all communities, including specific targets for vernacular outlets, youth, and digital reach.

Additionally, she highlighted that MCI mandates regular reporting on performance and compliance with relevant audits to ensure oversight of fund utilization, ownership, and accountability of public service media outcomes.

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Not in their wildest dreams they would dissolve SPH.
Otherwise, who would spread their propagandas?

Last edited 1 month ago by wee

Don’t you think it is better to just close SPH? It is so torturing for the staff with uncertainty handing over their heads as to when they would be out of job. Also for the management to constantly looking over its shoulder in case they did any thing wrong!

Nothing can be done to this organisation, as long as it operates under the PAP! Save the taxpayers’ money even if it was $1!

The SPH – G business model is much comparable to a sugarbaby – sugardaddy relationship.
One provides “services” and the other one enjoys the services and pays accordingly
Do they care about the public ???
They only need to ensure not much noises during their intercourse !!!

Last edited 1 month ago by wee

Again, … we are now in the areas of transparency and public information.

But, no definitive figures will be statemented or released, as, … we’ll just have to take their word for it.

Just as they are the arbiter of truth, where Pofma’s involved, so, … by natural SillyPore “common sense”, their word is the word of “god” right !!!

I only need little space for saxophone. tsk tsk tsk

“Dee Bee Ask ” CEO salary cut? Did she has her salary cut? What do you think? tsk tsk tsk

Falling short of KPIs…
Is that exPAP KBW still sitting in his duff as the headman there?
Replace with someone who really knows what hes doing..
Remember that its all taxpayers money.

Media that are funded by pap government will never be free media, so we will never hear the truth, nor legit criticism, nor the true voice of voters. The pap piper will always dictate what propaganda media tunes to play and what to ban, which they are still banning today. The pap government ought to stop using our taxpayers monies for funding their own propaganda and pap party lines(and pap party lies. Free the media and let free media improve national governance, instead of suppressing it.

JT just admitted that Failure is an option under the pappies. But for her, Failure seems like a Given wherever she is placed. Hence of course she is expert in justifying Failure.

If a company’s ability to survive or as a matter of fact, how luxurious the lifestyles (luxurious homes, cars, expensive travels, opulent meals, country clubs) of senior and top managements are depending on government supports, do you think they will dare to directly criticise or report damaging stories about the hands that feed them so well?

In the first place, if SMT cannot survive on its own, that means its business model is NOT sustainable. Thus, we shouldn’t even waste taxpayers monies trying to prop up a known loser. JT is so stupid to think that getting a portion, not the full amount, is good governance – in fact it only shows even if SMT fails, they will get money..

Did not get full funding …. yet still allocate $260 million?? So, just how much did they ACTUALLY get?

didnt meet KPI? tsk tsk tsk. Please step down. Thank you

All their excuses , never cease.

Everyone knows SMT is not a performer because it is a govt. mouthpiece. So even if it is a lesser sum, should the State continue the funding of this white elephant?