Reimagining Technology in Media

January 24, 2020
SCMP Insights
Over the past three years, the South China Morning Post has transformed from a regional media organisation to a global technology company that trades in truth. As part of this transformation, we have revolutionised how our media content is presented in the digital age. From personalised content discovery to increased multimedia reporting, our digital transformation also provided a new solution to advertisers by opening new channels for advertisers to connect with readers through branded content, long form video, social media publishing, data visualisation, podcasting, to name a few.
As a company, our transformation has included significant identity shifts. We’ve fostered a culture of diversity. Our staff offer a multiplicity of perspectives that drives us towards insightful, comprehensive coverage of current events. We quickly expanded and bolstered our product development, technology, digital, data and editorial teams with world-class talents. This went hand-in-hand with the digital transformation of our operational and newsroom processes, as well as establishing efficient and collaborative cross-functional structures. We’ve built a culture of data at SCMP, where real-time feedback and analytics drive every decision we make. These shifts enable SCMP to connect readers with data-driven, personalised content across our platforms.

The South China Morning Post is now a truly global media organisation, with over 80% of our readership based outside of Hong Kong. The United States is our single largest market, accounting for close to 35% of our audience, with over 10 million monthly active users, while five key Southeast Asian countries account for another 30%. We recognise that brands are also increasingly reaching across borders and need advertising solutions that will reach their global audience, especially spanning Asia and America. We’re offering brands the opportunity to go global with our audiences in the world’s largest markets.

The reader-facing aspect of this transformation has included a brand new, a mobile-first site aimed at serving a wider international community of readers with two special editions for audiences in the US and Asia, in addition to the Hong Kong and International editions. The new site has proven a timely response to stay ahead of contemporary content consumption preferences, while providing an intuitive and enjoyable user experience. The changes also aimed to benefit SCMP’s advertisers in reaching a broader demographic of readers more effectively, offering partners more opportunities to showcase more impactful brand storytelling formats in a seamless manner.    

As part of this overhaul, we  also introduced new Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered content recommendations. Found on the homepage, section pages, and article pages, these recommendations take into account reading behaviour and geolocation to help recommend content that might interest them. The platform also helps to surface older evergreen content that may be relevant to them.

What does SCMP’s global transformation offer advertisers? Not only do we have a global reach and data-driven strategies, but we also have an award-winning team - Morning Studio, comprised of world class branding strategists, multimedia designers, audio/video producers, and editorial experts working on branded content. With a deep understanding of SCMP readers, Morning Studio is a dedicated branded content team at SCMP that is leading the evolution of marketing in the region by more strategically connecting advertisers with readers through enhanced content solutions offerings.   Moreover, as well as  Morning Studio, and we have enlisted digital experts to build programmatic advertising, data analysts to strengthen o give the best content distribution and maximise performance of our digital advertising campaigns by  the best performance applying various tools and adtech. We place focus on creating proprietary first-party data, insight and activation tools for ourselves and advertisers. Our analytics team has built real-time dashboards for our key metrics and we are seeing exciting results such as in-depth readership trends and audience insights. 

Looking ahead, it will continue to be crucial for us to continually leverage technology to meet our reader’s needs, while developing our audience in key English-speaking markets as well as our advertising business. We are looking to improve our data and AI capabilities in meaningful ways to better serve our readers and advertisers, as we know that we have to earn our users return visits.