SMG looks towards diversification as weak economy hurts performance

SMG group CEO Alex Yeow on Monday said that going forward, the group aims to have 30% of its revenue come from new businesses that may be related to property or digital products.

PETALING JAYA: Star Media Group Bhd (SMG) has announced a net loss of RM14.2mil for the first quarter ended March 31,2021 from RM3.9mil reported in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue dropped to RM42.6mil from RM65.8mil with the softness in Malaysian economy coupled by the effects of Covid-19 and the recent Movement Control Order affecting the topline.

“However, we saw a growth in Star’s digital revenue of 17% against last corresponding quarter, which was mainly attributable to the increase in the digital advertorial, growth marketing and paywall subscription revenue, ” SMG said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has evolved into a global economic crisis where it has impacted most industries. Business and consumer behaviours remain uncertain but the group has taken drastic measures to contain the impact, ” SMG said.

“Despite the challenging environment, the group has continued to progress with its digital transformation initiatives to improve its costs and operational efficiencies. March 2021 marks a year since MCO 1.0 and the implementation of the paywall for The Star Online.”

SMG said that in view of rapid changes in media consumption trends, the group would focus on sustaining its investment in the digital space and attracting digital revenue.

“This will be done by introducing new products and rejuvenating existing ones to keep up with changing market needs. The Star marks its 50th anniversary this year, ” it said.

SMG group CEO Alex Yeow on Monday said that going forward, the group aims to have 30% of its revenue come from new businesses that may be related to property or digital products.

Yeow explained that currently 70% of the group’s revenue was newspaper-related, and the remaining 30% was from segments such as radio and events.

“Going forward, we want to change this to 40% (newspaper-related): 30% (segments such as radio and events): 30% (diversification into new businesses).

“Ideally, the new businesses will be related to media, digital or other strengths that we may have, ” he said after the group’s 49th annual general meeting (AGM), which was conducted online on Monday.

Yeow also pointed out that SMG owns properties that can be repurposed.

“We can convert them into logistic hubs, which is an up-and-coming business segment. Or we can convert offices for medical care and wellness businesses, or co-working spaces, ” he said.

In the statement to Bursa Malaysia, SMG said it has revised the utilisation of proceeds from the sale of Cityneon Holdings Ltd in 2017 where the remaining RM66.5mil is to be used for future investments.

SMG had cash reserves of RM342.9mil at the end of Q1 2021.

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