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Brand new state-of-the-art system set to bring CATS Classified to the next lap

Singapore, 31 August 2010 – Come September 1, CATS Classified will be published from a state-of-the-art publishing system. Known as the Classified Advertisements Sales Hub (or CASH for short), this system is the result of three years of effort by a multi-functional, cross-divisional team at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH).


Elsie Chua (extreme right), executive vice-president, CATS Classified, Marketing Division, in discussion with their vendor, Atex.
Developed at a cost of $18 million, CASH overcomes many limitations of its 26-year-old predecessor. While the old system operated in a character-based environment, CASH is windows-based, which means it is intuitive and easier to use. Also, CATS previously needed two separate systems to handle ads in different languages – one for Chinese ads, and another for English and Malay ads. CASH, however, is equipped to handle all types of advertisements.

System rationalisation coupled with a more intuitive user-interface means greater efficiency and shorter training time. New CATS staff can now get up to speed and become fully functional in a shorter time.

Alluding to the timeliness of CASH, IT project director Ng Pue Sieng said: “The old systems have reached a point where they were fast becoming obsolete. For example, the operating system for Chinese ads is no longer supported by the vendor, and we often had to make do with salvaging hardware from old consoles.” But hardware limitation is just one of the many issues that required urgent attention.

“Classified advertising has evolved tremendously", said Elsie Chua, executive vice-president, CATS Classified, Marketing Division. "While advertisers were once satisfied with simple run-on ads consisting of only a few lines of text, many now value and buy into creative options with colour logos, special layouts and premium positions.”

To address rising customer expectations and growing ad volume, a new, more powerful and versatile system was clearly needed. Atex, a leading provider of Digital Media software solutions and services to the global media industry, was appointed to work with SPH’s project team in developing CASH. With a clientele that includes award-winning media companies like The New York Times and The Economist, Atex was well-placed to deliver a product robust enough to handle the demanding requirements of SPH, a media company that operates in a multi-lingual environment.

“Developing CASH for SPH was a groundbreaking effort,” said Bill Everitt, chief system architect at Atex. “Though we had clients who needed platforms to handle multiple languages, we were mainly concerned with Latin-based languages. SPH, however, required us to build a system for both Chinese and English, two vastly different languages. CASH was thus the first of its kind for us.”

“The old system has faithfully served us for over two decades, and has grown to become such a critical part of CATS Classified", added Ms Chua. "But even as we bid a fond farewell to it, we are looking forward to many good years ahead with the new system as we continue to provide the best-in-class service to all our customers.”

 


Project team members ironing out kinks in the system before CASH goes live.

Triumph! Core project team members from SPH & Atex pose for a celebratory picture after the successful launch of the new Classified Advertisements Sales Hub (CASH).

 


Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Co. Regn. No. 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Diana Lee (Ms)
Assistant Vice President
Advertising & Promotions
CATS Classified
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 5978
Email:
leemld@sph.com.sg

Wong Wei Chen (Mr)
Communications Manager

Advertising & Promotions
CATS Classified
Singapore Press Holdings
Tel: 6319 5909
Hp: 9220 3780
Email:
weichen@sph.com.sg

Gary Yeo (Mr)
Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications
Singapore Press Holdings Limited
DID: 6319 1225
Email: garyyeo@sph.com.sg

About CATS Classified

CATS Classified is part of the Marketing Division of Singapore Press Holdings Limited. It offers the most comprehensive marketplace for products, services and employment through CATS Classified in The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Lianhe Wanbao, Shin Min Daily News, CATS Klassified in Berita Harian & CATS Fastads in The New Paper.


About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd

Incorporated in 1984, main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009. It is Southeast Asia’s leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms.

Newspapers and Magazines
In Singapore, SPH publishes 17 newspaper titles in four languages. Every day, 3 million individuals or 79 per cent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH's news publications. SPH also publishes and produces more than 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region, covering a broad range of interests from lifestyle to information technology.

Internet and Mobile
Beyond print, the Internet editions of SPH newspapers enjoy over 225 million pageviews with 14 million unique visitors every month. Apart from SPH AsiaOne portal, SPH's online and new media initiatives include an online marketplace for products, services and employment, ST701; local search and directory engine, rednano.sg; Stomp (Straits Times Online Mobile Print), a portal that connects, engages and interacts with readers on the Web and via mobile phone messaging; omy.sg, a bilingual news and interactive portal and The Straits Times RazorTV, a free access interactive webcast service offering live chat shows and video-on-demand clips.

Broadcasting
SPH has a 20 per cent stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8 and U, and a 40 per cent stake in MediaCorp Press Limited, which publishes the free newspaper, Today. In the radio business, SPH has an 80 per cent stake in SPH UnionWorks Pte Ltd, which operates entertainment stations Radio 100.3 in Mandarin and 91.3FM in English.

Events and Outdoor Advertising
SPH’s events subsidiary Sphere Exhibits organises innovative consumer and trade events and exhibitions. In addition, SPH has ventured into out-of-home (OOH) advertising through its wholly-owned subsidiary, SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore’s largest outdoor motion display advertising network media company.


Properties
SPH owns and manages Paragon, the prime retail and office complex in the heart of Orchard Road, Singapore's main shopping belt. SPH's wholly-owned subsidiary, Times Development Pte Ltd, has also developed a 43-storey upmarket residential condominium, Sky@eleven, at Thomson Road.